Thank you for another best summer yet!

 5 PYCLs: 1) Be 1 with God! 2) Focus on ways unity is shown! 3) Prayer-wash many times each day! 4) See your innate innocence! 5) “Write on the ground”– don’t react! 
P
ossible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“DOCTRINE OF ATONEMENT”
for Sunday, October 17, 2021

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


Pycl #1:  Be 1 with God! ILLUSTRATE THIS SUBJECT OF ONENESS with God! **
With the slightly older children, give them a working definition of “atonement” as it concerns theology—though you can include the regular definition as well. It is interesting to me that the day of Atonement was, and still is, one of the most important religious holidays of the Jewish religion as well—it just doesn’t involve Jesus.

As Christian Scientists, how does our understanding differ from traditional Christian religions?
It is important to acknowledge that the Bible does state that Jesus “died for our sins” 1st Cor 15:3, and there is much about this atonement in Romans chapter 5. But page 24 of Science and Health has some wonderful words to offer explanation of this seemingly complex subject! As usual, Mary Baker Eddy digs more deeply below the surface of the Bible passages to the spiritual, underlying meaning. It is helpful to present these thoughts in tandem.

The point, I think, is to understand that atonement has to do with rethinking and healing sin in ourselves. And sin, simply put, is the belief that we are separate from Love, that we have separate aims and goals than what Love or Truth, or Life has for us! It is often a struggle not to feel separated from God. But the struggle to understand our unity, the sincerity with which we pursue the understanding of our unity, brings joy, and goodness into our view.

With the youngest crowd, I wouldn’t bother with any theological definition. I would approach this subject as a topic about oneness, or unity, with Love. You can explain this by retelling any of the Bible stories about Jesus. How did he show us today (and back then) that man is not separate from God? How did he prove that we are “coexistent” with Love?

**GIVE ILLUSTRATIONS OF BEING AT ONE WITH GOD:
Consider together that beautiful Science & Health passage: “As a drop of water is one with the ocean, a ray of light one with the sun, even so, God and man, Father and son, are one in being.”  (SH 361:16-18) Bring in a glass of water and a straw or eyedropper if you have one. Have the children lift a little water out of the cup with the dropper, or with the straw by dipping the end in the water, putting your finger over the hole at the top, and lifting, without taking your finger off the straw. Talk about your little drop there in the dropper/straw. Do they seem separate from the cup? Now have them drop it back into the cup. Can you find that particular drop? Can you separate that one drop from the cup again? No! They are one! So, it is with man and God. You could also do this, in a little less direct a way, with sunlight and sun rays, even as they shine through a window in Sunday School.

[W: The refrain of this YouTube music video shows how a drop of water is one with the ocean and a ray of light one with the sun.  It was written and performed by a CedarS mom and award-winning Country Music artist, Cherie Brennan drawing upon Mary Baker Eddy’s words in Science & Health p. 315:3 and 361:16). Its “I and my Father are one” mindset of Christ Jesus is mentioned in this week’s Bible Lesson citation B11 from John 10:30. Enjoy!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZMNlpZavkA]


PYCL #2: SHARE EXAMPLES OF UNITY EXPRESSED!
How many examples of unity can you find together in this Bible lesson.
For instance, citation B10/John 7:14, 16 tells us that Jesus does not claim to have his own doctrine.
In citation B13/Luke 9:1, he bestows on his disciples “power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.” Isn’t this a form of unity with Jesus and with, by extension, God/Good?

Following Jesus as he requests in citation B14/Matthew 16:24 is a form of unity with God and with Jesus’ mission.
The story of the day of Pentecost in citation B19/Acts 2:1-42, is certainly an example of unity!
Citation B20/Gal 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”–certainly implies unity!
Even the story of Jesus handling the criticism of the Pharisees when they bring to him the woman caught in the act of adultery, shows a unity of mankind in seeing one another with compassion rather than separate and one “above” another.

Now, how many ways can we find together, of expressing our own unity with God/Love/Life/Truth–and so on?


PYCL #3: PRAYER-WASH FOR PURITY MANY TIMES EACH DAY!
There is a strong theme of purity, innocence, and so on, in this lesson. Why does purity feature prominently in a lesson on Atonement? Think back to the meaning of sin that we shared. What does purity do for us and why? The Golden Text says “Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.”
How is Love a “shield”/does it protect us when we trust in Love and maintain a sense of purity and innocence? “I will wash my hands in innocency: so, will I compass thine altar, O Lord:” (Responsive Reading).

This implies that keeping our actions/deeds (our hands do things!) “clean” or free from worldly influences such as pride, greed, fear, anger, and so on, we will find that we can be as close to God as the “altar” would have seemed to be in the ancient Jewish temple! Connect this passage to citation B1/Ps. 24:3-5.

With the little ones discuss this idea of what this all symbolizes, how washing our hands can mean keeping our thoughts and actions clean and good. Then have them pretend to wash up, or take them to a restroom to wash while discussing this idea, or bring wet wipes.
What is the difference between the “symbol” of washing hands, spoken of in this passage, and what happens when we actually wash up?

Think about what the idea of keeping our “hands” clean means each time we go to wash up!
It would be like affirming a little prayer of our innate purity many times a day, right?!


PYCL #4: SEE & ACCEPT THE INNATE INNOCENCE of ALL, PURE AS A CLEAR STREAM!
Work with the Beatitude in citation B6/Matt. 5:8:”Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God”. And in cit. S4/323:32 and S5/337:14. Why would we “see God” when we are pure in heart? Show them a picture of a clear stream or lake or other body of water, where we can see all the way to the bottom clearly. How does this relate to purity and seeing God? Man is perfect, as it tells us in these citations. This perfection is “completeness” or “wholeness”. We can only see a complete picture of ourselves and of God when we have a pure heart, one that isn’t clouded by lying views of physical sense or obscured by worldly opinion and pictures. You can also illustrate this with a glass of clean water, and one that is muddied with silt or something that makes it murky.
What does it take to see our innate purity?
How do we strive to perceive and accept this innocence in man, others as well as ourselves?


PYCL #5: “RESPOND” AS JESUS DID. “WRITE ON THE GROUND”– DON’T REACT!
Retell the story of Jesus and the adulterous woman in Section 2/cit. B7/John 8:1-12.
Remind them of the role of law in those days.
What do they think Jesus was doing while writing on the ground? (There is a beautiful explanation of the whole story in this week’s Bible Lens from the “Christian Science Sentinel”.) I love to think about how Jesus drew on the ground in part, perhaps, to give himself time to pray, to love all those in his presence, to affirm man’s unity with Love.

Maybe we should take time to “write on the ground”, figuratively, or literally!
When we are confronted with language, conversation, or actions, that try to trap us into reacting, rather than responding with love?
I also love that by turning away and drawing on the ground, he allowed those who accused her to leave without challenging their sense of pride.
This gave everyone the chance at redemption, not just the woman who stood accused!

Have the younger children act this story out. Take turns at being Jesus and writing on the ground.
Try “rewriting” the story so that they are accused of something that is more relevant to them and they have the chance to choose to “react” or to “respond” as Jesus did.

Have a great week in Sunday School!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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