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[ Go Beyond Belief Anchored in Your Understanding of Love]
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Everlasting Punishment”
for April 29-May 5, 2019

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

Pycl #1: As with last week, unless you are teaching very young children, it is helpful for students to understand the context of this subject. In the met this week that is posted on the CedarS website, there are a few facts and figures about the number of times "everlasting" appears in the Bible, and in what context. Also there is a statement about the number of people who would be condemned under the belief that comes from this subject. https://www.cedarscamps.org/metaphysical/articles/2019/4/everlasting-4/ Here's a link to that met if you want to look up that information. Most of us would struggle to worship a God who would condemn four and a half billion people to eternal punishment because they are not accepting Jesus Christ as their savior. You may find it interesting to note that Mary Baker Eddy herself did not agree to the doctrine of her childhood church that certain people were "predestined" to be able to go to heaven, while the rest were not, no matter how "good" they were. She joined her church when a teen, but refused, even after multiple meetings with her pastor, to agree to that particular doctrine. She could not accept that idea of a God who might allow some of her family, for instance, admission to heaven, while others were forbidden. Interestingly, her pastor agreed to let her join even without this agreement! This is a great example of how, in this lesson, we are encouraged to anchor our belief in God in a deeply spiritual understanding of Love, Truth, and Principle–rather than in a set of beliefs that we have grown up with ("Christian Science" ones, or otherwise!). Rather than "beliefs", let's think in terms of how we can be daily demonstrating our understanding of Love. Make a list of these ways!

Pycl #2: This is kind of a continuation of Pycl #1…Look at the story in Section 2, B6. Share some of the surrounding facts. For example, Moses was gone for more than a month when he went up into the mountain. Moses had led these people through the Red Sea, across barren desert. He had "made" water spring from rock, and they had found Manna every morning to feed them. (Do the students think that if they had witnessed these acts they would have behaved differently? It's easy to think we would, but there are many examples of God's presence today that we forget easily…) Maybe the students could consider some reasons why the people would abandon this amazing God for a golden calf after a mere 4 or 5 weeks? What would they feel like in that circumstance? You may be able to liken their dependence on Moses to how they feel like they are a bit dependent on their mom's or dad's comfort when they are sick. They might know that Love is present, but don't they feel that presence more tangibly through the love that they receive from their mom or dad? Then you can help them find their way to understanding that that parental love is the very way that God is expressing Love to them, specifically, tangibly. Is that expression limited to parents? Can we find it each day, each hour in other ways in our experience? This is how we are going to find that we understand and feel God's presence and are not yearning for something physical to fill that void. It is only through the daily, hourly feeling of God's presence that we are going to want to worship and appreciate God as the source of our joy, health etc. Discuss ways that you see/feel/hear God, share some daily examples. Some ideas might include: beauty in nature, or manmade, affection or love that you receive or see expressed, joy and liveliness in a pet, safety experienced in driving on a highway (meaning, the order we see as cars generally follow traffic laws etc.). Hopefully, what you share will trigger them to think about their own ways that they see/feel/hear God in their lives. If you can get a list going, do this and ask them to expand on it next week!

Pycl #3: One more little thing to think about that involves the story from section 2, maybe this is just a simple question to ponder. Is the Children of Israel's turning to something else to worship perhaps really because they were too easily discouraged by Moses' disappearance? Might that be similar to how we feel frightened or discouraged quickly if things don't go the way that we think they should? Could we, perhaps, by daily noticing God's presence, find ourselves less unsure, less fearful of the availability of Good?

Pycl #4: Why (or why not?) is it important to always work to be and do better? (Another way to state this but it might sound more judgemental in language, is, why shouldn't we sin?) This might be a great question for all ages. While we don't specifically do good for the benefits it gives us personally, it certainly does indeed benefit our lives. Discuss how it does this. Does it reach beyond our own experience? Obviously yes, but you can work together to think of a number of ways that it does this. For example when we just smile more often at people, that brings more joy into other's experience. (And likewise, when we are grumpy and stomping around we do the opposite!!) You could have little ones act out some of these scenaria.

Pycl #5: Okay, I know there is enough about the second section here, but for the very little classes, I think you could talk about the story and then have them make a little playdough "calf" or whatever…they can make a dog or anything. What makes it different from what they know about God? How do they think of God? Why did God give Moses the Ten Commandments? What do these Commandments do to help us understand God and man better? How did Jesus go even farther with these Commandments (see section 3 and anything from the Sermon on the Mount). This might be a good class to do a review of the Commandments as well as Jesus' Sermon because they are at the root of understanding why Love would never punish. Every difficult experience will afford us encouragement to change our habits or actions and thoughts back toward Love. This process is sin punishing itself. Do they think God was different back in Moses' day? Or did man's understanding of God become deeper?

Have a great Sunday school class!!

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