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[PYCL: 1-Correct old-school belief in separation. 2-Find never-lost joy! 3-Lift a list!
4-Banish anger. 5-
See law in place for safety. 6- Experience superabundant fun!]
Possible Younger Class Lessons for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

"Everlasting Punishment"

For April 30, 2017

by Kerry Jenkins, CS, House Springs, MO (314) 406-0041

Pycl #1: [Correct old-school belief in separation.]
This is another "old school" theological subject that we need to address because of the widespread belief that we are a sinning race that deserves punishment. It includes the suggestion that God is the one doing such punishing. We might ask our pupils who they think is "punishing" them when they do something wrong? (You may want to think together about the difference between "punishment" and "discipline"—discipline is something that teaches, while punishment is purely meant to inflict mental or physical pain of some kind.) Also we can address the idea that our parents, for example, are invested in helping us to learn things well, not in punishing us for wrongdoing. It is a question of motive. Punishment springs from a place of error, a desire, perhaps for vengeance? Whereas discipline can come from a place of love. With that clarified, what role does God/Love play in "punishing" us? You could put citation S3 into simpler words for the younger children. Think about the proposition here. Wouldn't it be completely illogical for an all-good God, who makes man, in His image, to make anything that is unlike Him? And if, for some reason He did do this, would punishing this creation be in any way fair or good? This, to me is a fundamental element of Christian Science. I cannot accept the idea that a good, powerful Creator, Love, would create a bad man and then punish him. That just makes no sense and doesn't seem like a God worthy of love. Instead, we learn in this lesson that our nature is not a sinful one. Naturally we are good, loving, healthy, and so on, and there are several examples of this to be found in the lesson. We are given tools to change our view of ourselves when we feel that we are not acting in a way that is truly reflecting God's goodness.

Pycl #2: [Find never-lost joy!]
It is really great to get a good understanding of what the belief in sin really is. I'll leave that to Christie who explains it very thoroughly in this week's Met on the CedarS website, as the belief that we are separated from Love. An example for the younger children might be to ask the question "Have you ever gotten separated from your parents somewhere in public?" (I still remember a time when I wandered away from my mom on a very crowded beach one summer. There were literally thousands of people on the beach, beach towels and blankets more than sand! I walked up and down the beach for what seemed like forever and couldn't find my family anywhere. Someone saw me crying and took me to a lifeguard station. They even gave me an ice cream while they looked for my family. It was probably the only time in my life that I didn't enjoy an ice cream….) But, kids may be able to relate to that utterly terrifying state of separation—even if only for a few moments at the grocery store. We belong with our family, and everyone will help us to reunite with that family, including, of course, our moms and dads, who are surely searching for us! In a similar way, Love is always keeping us with Her. She will never even let us be anything less than Her present, safe child. We may temporarily feel separated or lost, but Love is even more in control than our mom or dad, and never lets us get "away". A moment or two of stillness when we feel "lost” will help us to hear Love's voice guiding us "home".

Pycl #3: [Lift a list!]
In the Responsive Reading there is a passage about how "…the spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him [the enemy]." The enemy here could be that belief of being separate from God. Explain "standard". In battle it would be a flag or tall, visible rallying point for your "side" to see and go to. Also discuss what a standard is as in a "standard of behavior"—a level. In both cases it is the spirit of the Lord, a sense that we have within each of us, that is inherently ours as God's child that leads us to a truer sense of our sinless identity. Bring in a tall stick or pole and have the children create a flag or banner that includes a list of "rallying points" or beautiful qualities that are true about our nature and draw us closer to seeing our inseverable relationship with God/Love.

Pycl #4: [Rule out anger with a border patrol around your “New You” town.]
What if you regard verse 18 in the last part of the Responsive Reading: "Violence shall no more be heard in thy land…" as being a reference to your sense of self, your identity. What if your consciousness no more let in violence, anger, temper, frustration, no more "destruction", self-destructive thoughts within the "borders" of your consciousness? What if you think of the border "patrol" on your consciousness only allowing in "Salvation" with "gates" of "Praise"? The only things being kept out of our sense of self, our identity, our being, would be errors, lies, falsehoods… Get a visual image together of such gates and walls, ones that are constantly growing to include an abundance of good, purity, Truth—but excluding all error. You might enjoy the way that this verse is shared in The Message "I'll install Peace to run your country, make Righteousness your boss. There'll be no more stories of crime in your land, no more robberies, no more vandalism. You'll name your main street Salvation Way, and install Praise Park at the center of town." Maybe you will want to design a "town" like this on a large sheet of paper and label the important "landmarks"!

Pycl #5: [See law in place for safety, caring.]

One question that may be in thought is the question of why does it seem like we do get punished for wrongdoing? What is punishing us? Section 5 gives us a great story about Saul/Paul to help in answering that! You could think that the bright light that blinded Saul, and was from God, "punished" Saul for his wrongdoing. But that would be a false way to regard that story. The light changed his thought, illuminating the Truth. It made him stop in his tracks and turn to a truer sense of God and a truer sense of himself as faithful to Love. As he had a few days to reflect on this, he was healed, that is, the lies about himself fell away, revealing a clearer sense of his nature. It was the lie of hatred and self righteousness that caused the blindness, not God! In like manner, God uncovers truth, only to reveal its unreality, not to punish us. You can share examples of how the law of Good can help us conform to and obey such law, but are not the source of punishment. Traffic laws are a helpful analogy. Is the policeman "punishing" us when we are caught for breaking a traffic law, or is our disobedience to the law the real root of the problem? The law didn't reach out and "get us", that law just exists and is in place for our safety.

Pycl #6: [Experience superabundant, CedarS-like fun living in Love's safety, respect, care…]

I can't leave this subject without a little pitch for the kind of fun to be had when we are living within those laws of Love. Mrs. Eddy calls it the "superabundance of being" (S10). I think this epitomizes the fun we have at CedarS Camps living within Love's laws of good, joy, safety, respect, care, and so on. It is the kind of fun that stems from limitless good and the true sense of our inseparability from Love. When we cultivate a deeper understanding of how we are one with God, we have so much more fun, so much more joy—real superabundance of life! What removes falsehood from our sense of self? Truth! (S11) and those "…flood-tides of Love." (also S10) If you can, share an example of the kind of fun that comes from being aware that we live close to Love. There are certainly many more topics to be shared this week, but this should be a way to get started!!

Have a great Sunday!

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