Thank you for another best summer yet!

6 PYCLs: 1) REMOVE HALLOWEEN MASKS  2) TOSS-OFF CLOAKS  3) NUDGES FROM LOVE 4) SET OUT  M&M’S 5) “PUNISHMENT” vs. DISCIPLINE. 6) REFRESHING PRACTICE!
P
ossible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“(N)EVERLASTING PUNISHMENT”
for Sunday, October 31, 2021

by Kerry Jenkins, CS, of House Springs, MO
kerry.helen.jenkins@gmail.com • 314-406-0041

[**Click here for a Halloween classic blog, “TRICK? Or TREATment!”]


Pycl #1:  USE HALLOWEEN ACTIVITIES/PROPS AS SYMBOLS TO HELP RECOGNIZE SPIRITUAL REALITY.

If you are teaching in the U.S. this would be a fun weekend to incorporate activities that include some ideas from Halloween. This is not, of course, because Halloween has anything to do with the Bible lesson, but there are many ideas including Halloween masks, dressing up, changing our identities, being scary, evil, hiding, tricking, and so on that can be used as terrific symbols for how we can recognize spiritual reality.

Removing Halloween masks (not covid ones), which you can make together from simple paper plates and string, is a great way to open a discussion of how our feelings of anger, selfishness, frustration, sadness, etc. are just like a mask. They don’t belong to us, they are not a part of us. Just like a mask with a sad or angry face on it, we might feel sad or angry, but we can remember that these feelings, while normal to face, and sometimes difficult to separate from ourselves, are actually not part of who we are!! Have them demonstrate how these emotions are like masks that are not who we are but can be removed!!


Pycl #2: TOSS-OFF A “WHINER” COSTUME WHILE DECLARING “I’m not a whiner or complainer”!
I think this Halloween activity could easily be linked to the fifth section story of Paul’s conversion to Saul. Tell the story, include some of the detail that is not part of this week’s Bible lesson. You may want to explain how Paul felt it was a mission that he had to destroy Christians, even had permission from the Roman government to do so! He participated in the murder of any number of wonderful people, including Stephen the apostle.

You can also explain or share the part of the Saul to Paul conversion story where the men that were with Paul at the time of his revelation, heard the same voice that Paul heard in the desert! They did not see the blinding light, but they all heard what Jesus said to Paul!
Do you think these soldiers might have changed their minds about Christians too?
How does the idea of taking off a mask compare with how Paul changed his name and began to preach Christianity to the world? It was more like a mask and costume change right?!  Did Paul “change” who he was? Talk about the distinction between changing “who” we are, and merely removing from our thought, behavior, and consciousness, anything that isn’t like God, Love, etc. Demonstrate this symbolically by having them “throw off” a cloak or costume item that you brought from home for them to try for this exercise.

What might they be “shedding” if they are trying to see their own identity more clearly?
Maybe something like “I’m not a whiner or complainer”! as they toss off their costume or mask.
Make up your own that you want to “take off” too!  This story fits into this lesson by telling us how much Love is a God of forgiveness, mercy, tenderness—not a God of punishment!


Pycl #3: THINK OF HOW GOD SPOKE to ANANIAS — AS A HARD-TO-OBEY NUDGE FROM LOVE.
After sharing the story of Paul, I would want to include some things about Ananias, the man who healed Paul from blindness. It is not fully detailed in this lesson, but Ananias was a Christian, one of those Paul was likely headed out to kill before he had his encounter with Jesus. The way it is shared in the Bible it sounds as if Ananias was having a conversation with God where God was asking him to go out and heal Saul of blindness, and Ananias says “Are you sure? This is the guy who kills us Christians????” And God affirms that this is the guy who will really spread Christianity far and wide. But how do most of us hear God speak to us? Is it usually a voice like that? I’m not saying it wasn’t in this case, but I think it’s helpful to consider that God spoke to Ananias as his thought. That in this way, as it would usually occur, Ananias would get direction from Love, and obey.

Do you think that it would be easy to trust a direction that came to you that demanded you expose yourself to a man who was coming to town to murder you and your friends?
What kind of faith might that take? Ananias must have had so much experience of God’s power and goodness right? — in order to trust that this direction was from God?
Have any of them felt like they got a message or nudge from Love that was hard for them to obey?


Pycl #4: SET OUT SOMETHING TEMPTING, LIKE A BOWL OF M&M’S, & THEN SAY “You don’t get any… “
 If you haven’t tried this from a previous Pycl when we have had this subject, bring in a small bowl of M&M’s and set them in the middle of the table. Be clear that the kids can’t have any or they will be “punished”! (Obviously you will have to say this with a knowing smile! Or you will find another way if they don’t know you well!)

Then talk about the idea of a God who tempts us to do things we are told not to do, and then punishes us if we do them when we can’t seem to help ourselves. Does that sound like Love?
We are told as much in the Section 1, especially in citation S2/230:11-16.
Love would not create something/someone that is prone to do wrong, wouldn’t set out something tempting, like a bowl of M&M’s, and then say “You don’t get any—and if you take them you are in trouble!” Love gives us all good, opportunity, favor, intelligence, skill, and so on.


Pycl #5: DISCUSS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN “PUNISHMENT” AND DISCIPLINE.
It might be fun to help them understand the difference between “punishment” and discipline. Look the words up together. Do they see the word “disciple” in the word discipline?
Is punishment ever truly good or helpful? Maybe only in the way that sin punishes itself—we are made unhappy, or to suffer, when we are acting in ways that make us feel separate from Love.
Since sin is what punishes itself, does God ever punish man? It is fun to note that there are only about five or six places in the Bible where it mentions things like “everlasting punishment”, “everlasting fire”, and things like that. There are hundreds of “everlasting mercy”, “everlasting kindness/tenderness/love” and so on!!


Pycl #6: FIND REFRESHMENT & NEW BEAUTY TO FIND IN EACH STEP OF PRACTICE OF EVERY KIND!
Finally, for children that are a little older, I love the inclusion in citation B5/Isa 28:10, 12 2nd this (to:), of “this is the refreshing:”. Being someone who spends a lot of time with children, it seems that teaching is a game of repetition, constant, patient, willingness to repeat oneself with gentleness and love.

By the same token, when we are learning anything it seems there is a lot of patient, step by step, “here a little, there a little” work to be done. We do not usually get to suddenly be great at any endeavor.
We don’t start playing piano one day and play like a genius any more than we are ready for major league baseball after a few weeks of playing baseball.
But that little sentence about “refreshing” is so inspiring (cit. B5/Isa 28: 12). E
ach step, each precept, line, etc. is new each day, it is not actually just repetition, if we are genuinely looking for the newness, freshness of how we are practicing a piece of music today, approaching a bit of footwork in soccer, (or raising a child)!

We can find ourselves refreshed by each step we take and see new beauty in our practice of every kind! Then these practice times don’t seem like a “punishment” at all, but something refreshing that we are uncovering, every day that we are working!

Have a great week in Sunday School!

 

American Camp Association

MAIN OFFICE
(November - May)
410 Sovereign Court #8
Ballwin, MO 63011
(636) 394-6162

CAMP OFFICE
(Memorial Day Weekend - October)
19772 Sugar Dr.
Lebanon, MO 65536
(417) 532-6699

Support our mission!

CedarS Camps

Back
to top