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[PYCL: 1. Find treasures within! 2. Discuss the rules that bring joy.
3. Share in a spiritual sense of heaven now! 4. Roll away worries. 5. Feel at one with God!]

Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

Doctrine of Atonement or At-one-ment
for April 19, 2020

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

Pycl #1: [W: Find your treasures within & draw your most heavenly feelings and places to be!]
A quick count through the lesson reveals at least 24 references to heaven/kingdom of heaven/kingdom of God, and so on.
There are many, many more references to this kingdom that don't use these very words.
For examples: the idea of oneness or "at-one-ment" with God certainly implies a heavenly position; and, being redeemed from sin certainly is a heavenly place to be!
Any reference to harmony (Mary Baker Eddy uses "harmony" as part of her definition of kingdom of heaven). You get the idea!!

Think together about this "kingdom within" that Jesus tells us is ever-present.
How do we access this peace, since most of us don't experience it 100% of the time!
How does getting a glimpse of this kingdom within bring healing with it?
Can you share an example of this with your class?

What does the "entrance" to this kingdom look like? (Golden Text). Can you draw it?
Describe or draw what your kingdom within looks like.
Obviously, this is an imaginative activity, but the qualities and feelings there are very tangible.
Articulating them, possibly through trying to draw them, can give these feelings roots!

With reading-age children have a treasure hunt for references to a heavenly harmony within.
If they are not yet reading, highlight these references together in a printed-out, paper lesson.
I realize many versions of the lesson these days are not printed, so enlist a parent from home to help you with this!

Pycl #2: [Discuss how doctrines/rules bring joy when based on the 2 great Commandments.]
What does the idea of Atonement center around? Explain the theological "doctrine" and what a doctrine is in traditional Christian theology. What is important about studying this? For these younger children you can think in terms of why do we have rules in our lives? Some are rules that help us stay safe and healthy, happy, etc. Some rules they might think of are more arbitrary. Maybe they are rules that are not based on values that their family thinks are important?

In this Bible lesson the doctrines might be considered things like the idea that sacrifice of an animal is necessary to redeem ourselves or get our sins forgiven by God. Maybe another doctrinal type belief would be that the kingdom of heaven is somewhere that we "go" to instead of something within us and accessible to us through demonstration of the Commandments that Jesus "reduced" to loving God, and loving our neighbor as ourselves.

Jesus gave us the understanding of God and man that makes this kind of obedience much more readily possible!
Look at the last verse of citation B21 where we are told that "…we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement." (bold Italics added)

Pycl #3: [Share the here & now “new heaven” of a spiritual sense of everything, everyone!]
I know we already covered the kingdom of heaven theme, but following up with the idea of what is the "new heaven" (and earth) that John is speaking of in the last section/Revelation, could be really fun.
What is different about this heaven? How is it the same as our kingdom within?
What in this new heaven is symbolic and how does it relate to the kid's understanding of heaven?
I love that Mary Baker Eddy mentions the words "spiritual consciousness" in citation S26, as a "present possibility." Isn't this the kingdom within, here, now?
And isn't spiritual consciousness always with us, as near as thought?

Pycl #4: [Roll away the heavy worries of uncertainties with Christ’s pure love and presence!]
One way to look at a "doctrine", and how they can keep us from understanding the spiritual vitality that Jesus shared, is to think of the way that Mary Baker Eddy writes about the stone being rolled away from human hope and faith in citation S27.

Have the children try to roll something heavy— make sure it's not easy and not too round – similar to the stone that we know was placed over Jesus' tomb.
Have them think about what this symbolizes.
Why would this be like a "doctrine" or rule that keeps us from feeling the spiritual love and presence of the Christ? (If the children are doing this over a computer, you may need to demonstrate this yourself, even if you are kind of pretending it is something heavy 🙂

Pycl #5: [W: Feel like God’s forever ray & draw on being at-one with God always, in all ways!]
There are wonderful analogies for the idea of "oneness" which is really the deepest meaning of the larger act of atonement. Mary Baker Eddy has two such analogies in this week's lesson that are fun to play with when working with children. These are also timeless ideas for us adults!!
Based on the passage in citation S4 you can have the children think of how the sun's rays are never separate from the sun. A cloud cannot "cut" a ray into pieces, the ray remains attached, always. Use this idea to help them see how we are always one with our Father-Mother Love.

We might think that we are sometimes separate from God, as when the clouds roll in, but actually we can never be detached, because God is our very source, our being.
Likewise, you can have them draw this idea.

Then, have them try dripping some water into a cup and then try getting that "drip" out of the cup again! Can you really separate it? You might be able to take drops out, but they really don't exist separately from the whole of water.

If the children are a little older you can do a simple explanation and draw a simple diagram of the water cycle to show that every single drop of water is constantly recycled in the world through evaporation and rainfall, and so on. No water is ever truly lost, even though the water table may be much deeper in some areas of the world than in others!
Have some fun with these ideas about being one with our harmonious, loving Father-Mother, just like Jesus!!

Have a great Sunday School!!

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