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[PYCL: Build a wall to knock down! Place paper footprints on a path. Find church’s value (2-5)]
Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Doctrine of Atonement”
for October 20, 2019

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

Pycl #1: As always, except with the very young, it would be important to talk about what this doctrine is and why we include it in our study subjects (other than the fact that Mary Baker Eddy has done this). What does "atonement" mean? How do we think about it in a way that is similar to other Christians? How different? Some of the deeper and thornier problems of this subject are probably not going to be understood or valued at the Sunday School level. But, we can deal with many of the important elements and do justice to this powerful topic.

Understanding, at least, that everything that Jesus lived for, demonstrated in his life, resurrection, and, eventual ascension, brought to us a clearer sense of our oneness with God, might be the best way to focus this discussion. Can you think together about the examples in this lesson that point to how Jesus' life brought us closer, even today, to God? Oneness, of course, appears everywhere in the lesson. There is oneness in his ability to preach without the "proper" education, in his admonition to "reconcile" (become one, in a sense) with your "brother" before trying to profess your love/worshipping God.

Forgiveness of others certainly denotes a kind of oneness with Love, the one Father-Mother. Jesus shows oneness in the healing of the palsied man whom he declares to be free of sin, that which might claim to separate man from God. There are many examples from Jesus' life that the kids could share once you get the ball rolling!

Pycl #2: Build a wall to be knocked down! (Boxes that are stacked are not quite as loud as wooden blocks…) so that the students can knock it down repeatedly (rebuilding as necessary). Discuss all the ways that Jesus helped us to knock down walls or barriers that seem to come between us and God. This might be a variation on the thoughts above, but is so much fun to notice in this lesson.

Jesus proved that matter is not a barrier to life, to health, to wholeness, to intelligence, expression. You can think about the barrier that the Adam and Eve model of man poses to our understanding of ourselves as spiritual. How did Jesus destroy that model? Didn't he give us a more spiritual understanding of God as the law of divine Love, consistently loving? He broke down barriers about worship. Our love for God, or worship, is best expressed in deeds of love, healing, rather than following certain theological doctrines or rules.

Could a lack of forgiveness be a "wall" that needs breaking down? How about the story of the palsied man, they literally broke down a wall to bring him to Jesus (well, a roof, but close enough!). What was the wall that Jesus broke for that man when he healed him? How does "sin", or "missing the mark", make us feel separate from God?

The example Jesus set through the crucifixion is also wall-breaking. He allowed this to take place so that we can better understand the ultimate powerlessness of sin, hatred, evil, to separate us from the love of God, from Life itself. We may have to struggle with "trials and self-denials, as well as joys and victories…" (S25) to properly understand and appreciate this event. But, these trials and joys are wall-breaking events too.

And, the final wall-breaking is in the last section where Paul discusses the unity of mankind as we work together to best share and demonstrate the message of oneness with all of humanity through church. We might think of this wall as the wall between each other. This could be one of race, culture, economic standing, age, education, religion, or things closer to a child's everyday experience.

Have the children think of ways that they might be tempted to feel separate from God. Maybe it's a feeling of not being good enough at something. How does Jesus break that "wall"? Let them take a swing at your "wall" and topple it with each example they come up with!

Pycl #3: "…walk in the footsteps of Truth and Love…" (S4). Cut out some paper footprints and place them on a path through your Sunday School or church or outside, if this can be done without distracting others. What are those footsteps? What example did Jesus leave for us to follow?

Let them name a "footstep" and then take a step. If this is too distracting to your class or to others you can draw footprints on a large sheet of paper and have them move game pieces on a path, naming what each step might represent in their journey toward understanding their oneness with Love and Truth.

Pycl #4: What is the best way for us to worship God? Look at citations B1 and B2 and have them write down the list that is described there. Have them tell you what it means to "do justly" (for example). Interestingly, we have examples of true justice in several sections.

Jesus destroys the injustice of hatred and unforgiveness in citations B6, B7, and B8. And he goes against theological laws to declare a divine justice that sets the palsied man free of disease in citation B10. How can we "do justly"? Can we be more spiritual in our judgement of others, rather than going along with popular opinion? (Notice citation S10 here as well!)

Consider each quality in turn—loving mercy, walking humbly, loving God and our neighbor as ourselves. How are these "worship"? What does their demonstration do to our understanding and feeling of unity with Love? The better we understand God or Love, the more we are wanting to "worship" God, through our actions. This is why Jesus' works are so important, they revealed a God of Love that we would truly want to worship and adore!

Pycl #5: Looking together at Section 5, what do we discover about church? Maybe you could first ask the children what they think church is, and what its purpose is. Then find out what our church is "built on" (S28). What does that mean? Are there any stones? Does she mention "cement" or concrete? (She does mention cement in citation S31, but what kind is it?) How can we unite or join this church, what does Mary Baker Eddy say we have to do (in citation S28, p. 571:19)?

We need to heal, be newborn of Spirit. Does she say this in her membership requirements in the Church Manual? Why not? Ask them whether they can heal. Then read citation S30. Maybe write a definition of church in their own words. Is this church in a building? How does this kind of church contribute to helping us feel one with God/Love?

Have a great week in Sunday School!

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