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[PYCL: Bring in Halloween costumes/masks. (#1) Try to add pieces to a complete puzzle. (#4)]
Possible Younger Class Lessons for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

"(N)Everlasting Punishment"
for October 29, 2017

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

Pycl #1: As with every time this lesson appears, we become aware that there is really only everlasting Love, mercy, tenderness, care, guidance and so on coming from our Father-Mother. It might be cool to point this out! (The first sentence in the Responsive Reading speaks of this.) It's just nice to acknowledge this with a subject like "Everlasting Punishment". Why would we contemplate punishment at all? Well, because of the accepted belief that man is a sinner… someone who has good and bad in him. While that certainly looks like it's true, we can dig deep into Christian Science and question our own consciousness of this suggestion. When we do something that isn't good, how should we view it? Should we accept that we are "not a good person"? Or should we, rather, recognize and confront our wrongdoing as something that has no place in God's creation (us), has no power over us, can and will be eradicated?! Here, we could use a Halloween analogy. You could bring in costumes or make masks/bring masks. Do these masks or costumes make us "into" whatever they are representing? In the same way, we are not sinful, bad people, but can remove that mask not only from our "face", but also from our consciousness—how we think of ourselves. You can also link this activity to Section 3's theme of controlling our thinking/consciousness. How is this done? Do we have to think something before we do it? You know, I often tell my boys to think before they act. Certainly this isn't bad advice. But I think our actions are most often rooted in thinking first, even if it is not deep or good thinking! So controlling thinking is the best way to control our actions!

Pycl #2: Talk about what it means when the Bible tells us to "wash" and be clean. What kind of washing is this? Much like the mask, this is a good opportunity to bring in some items that are so dirty as to obscure what they really look like and wash them together. We can also talk about the purifying process for metals—gold and silver—in this activity. Perhaps you have some very tarnished silver and some rags and polish you could bring in for the children to try polishing off the tarnish. (Thereby killing two birds with one stone, just don't tell the parents that you were trying to get your silver cleaned in Sunday School!) Seriously though, the results of tarnish being removed are so visually rewarding that this might be a very powerful image. Was the tarnish part of the silver? It was certainly masquerading as part of it right? In fact, we can't just "dismiss" it as "unreal" can we? But we have to polish it away. Think of this process as it is presented in Section 2. Why would our parents discipline us? Are they doing it to be mean? To scare us into not doing something again? Or, are they helping us see that happiness comes from recognizing our freedom from these errors that they are correcting? Check out this story that Warren sent earlier in the week about the silver purifying process. It is a helpful analogy because sometimes being corrected is not a fun "process", but the rewards of recognizing our perfect nature are worth it!

W’s PS#2 on Malachi 3:3 (B11) on God’s nonstop watching for the divine image to shine through whenever you’re in a fiery trial. Refining of gold or silver is a theme in almost every section of this Bible lesson—in the Responsive Reading (Isa. 1.25, Proverbs 17.3 (B1), Psalms 66.10 (B6), Proverbs 25.4 (B18), Job 23.10 (B23), S&H 66:31 (S27)

The Refiner's Touch

There was a group of women in a Bible study on the book of Malachi. As they were studying chapter three they came across verse three which says, "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." This verse puzzled the women and they wondered what this statement meant about the character and nature of God.

One of the women offered to find out about the process of refining silver and get back to the group at their next Bible study. That week the woman called up a silversmith and made an appointment to watch him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest in silver beyond her curiosity about the process of refining silver. As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and let it heat up. He explained that, in refining silver, one needed to hold the silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest so as to burn away all the impurities.
The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot – then she thought again about the verse, that He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver. She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front of the fire the whole time the silver was being refined. The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver, but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the fire. For if the silver was left even a moment too long in the flames, it would be destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, "How do you know when the silver is fully refined?" He smiled at her and answered, "Oh, that's the easy part –- when I see my image reflected in it."

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire, remember that God has His eye on you and will keep His hand on you and watch over you until He sees His image in you.

AUTHOR UNKNOWN

NOTE FROM KAY: I verified that the information in this story was true. I contacted a silversmith at www.silversmithing.com and asked if there were any untruths in the silver-smithing parts. I received the following response from Fred Zweig: "I am familiar with the verse from Malachi. The similarities of actual refining and the chapter and verse from the Bible are accurate. It is important not to overheat the silver when refined in this process and clean molten silver will shine with a mirror-like quality when it is ready to pour. The high temperatures do volatize the impurities and form on the surface as dross. It is important to be attentive to the molten metal as it does it no good to overheat it. It may not destroy the silver, but silver has an affinity for absorbing oxygen and this can make it unworkable."
Original copied from Website:
http://www.clarion-call.org/extras/malachi.htm

Pycl #3: In the story of the man by the pool (Section 5), Jesus tells him to "…sin no more…" when he sees him later, after he is healed. What is Jesus referring to? Do the children have some thoughts on that? I like the fact that Jesus asks the man if he wants to be healed. The man gives him some excuses/reasons for why this is impossible, and then Jesus commands the man to “Rise up and walk”.* Maybe we can think of this as akin to asking ourselves, when we are sick, "do I want to claim my Christ heritage? It sounds like there is an obvious answer here, but sometimes we cling to what we "know" of matter. Sometimes the matter we know is pretty cool. Sometimes it is something that we are quite happy to drop. But either way, we can ask the question Jesus asks and "sin no more", not go back to behavior that we don't need to have. *Check out the wonderful “Rise up and walk”hymn that was the basis of CedarS theme for this season: Hymn #453 in the supplement, #565 in the 2017 Hymnal. Have fun singing it together!

Pycl #4: When Jesus tells the man by the pool "Behold, thou art made whole"—it is interesting to think of the word "whole" here. This is another meaning for the Biblical word "perfect". As such, what are we doing to accept that we are perfect—whole. That means we can't add anything to our makeup, good or bad! Jesus could be saying here that the man was complete, not the Adam man that "needed" things to make him happy—a woman, animals, a knowledge of good and evil… these are all suggestions that we need more than we are given as ideas of God. We've done this activity before, but you can try it in a number of ways. You can take a totally full glass of water and try to add water to it. You can get a puzzle that is complete, and try to "add" pieces to it—have the children actually try to add pieces, you can try adding to a circle that you draw, and maintain its circular shape. This is a way to illustrate the truth that we are each complete, whole, perfect, without flaw, as Love has made us. Nothing there to punish. Our consciousness just sometimes needs to be made aware that this is our true nature and then we can act in accord with that truth!

Have a great Sunday!

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