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[PYCL: Come up with things to sacrifice that will help us feel our unity with God! (8)]
Possible Younger Class Lessons for the Christian Science Bible Lesson for

October 18, 2015 on

“Doctrine of Atonement”

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

Pycl #1: I read and re-read the Golden Text this week to try to gain some insight into how it reveals our unity with God. What is the difference between the idea of being "in him" (the Father) and being "by him" (Christ)…I don't know if I am correct—other translations have helped to clarify this for me—but I'm thinking that the first part is stating that we are made by God, we live "for Him". The second explains that Jesus showed us that to truly live as God's expression, we should live like he (Jesus) did. In that way he can be said to have "given" us life, that is, he showed us how to live as one with God. It might be fun to use this Golden Text to start off the subject… which is its purpose after all. Jesus is the one that is referred to in this "doctrine" that we are studying this week, so getting a clearer picture of what that means for us is really helpful. What is "life in God"? One word from the lesson that describes this life is "unselfed"(S20). What is the difference between "unselfed" and "unselfish"? How does being unselfed help us understand Jesus' mission? Does being unselfed mean we have no identity? Why does being unselfed help us feel our unity with God? Can you think of an example of something unselfish that you have done or could do, and then an example of something unselfed? You should maybe have an example on hand to share first to get things started. You might think of the lesson as showing us how we can and should "crucify" a material sense of ourselves. This is done by living the life that Jesus lived, healing, and keeping the love of God in our hearts first above all material "rules" and beliefs.

Pycl #2: This lesson almost always includes the reference to the laws that Moses gave us, and sort of contrasts this with the "…grace and truth [that] came by Jesus Christ." (Responsive Reading) What do the kids think of this? Do Moses' laws (the Ten Commandments included) not really matter then? Think of it like learning math. We usually learn to add numbers before we multiply. We could just skip to multiplying because it's a faster way to add—but if we don't understand addition, then we won't get multiplying right? So we have to take one step at a time, we have to really know the Commandments; they bring our thoughts and actions closer to God, to understanding God as Spirit (S1). Without obedience to them, understanding of them (S15) we will not be able to welcome into our hearts the teachings of Jesus. His teachings are based on the teachings of Moses.

Pycl #3: Speaking of laws—why do laws help us in our journey to feel at one with God? Do you feel closer to mom and dad when you are listening, being polite, obedient? Or when you are being sneaky or disobedient? Why? Another thought: are we protected (harmonious, aware of our place in the Kingdom) when we are law-abiding (think traffic laws for example)? And finally: when we govern our thought and actions in the way that Moses' law asked us to, we get a different view of things around us. We are sacrificing (part of the atonement) mortal desires (those things that we "shalt not" do) on the "altar". We are giving up these desires to God and He will either elevate them—make them more spiritual—or He will replace them with better ones! Either way we are left with a deeper sense of spiritual being and oneness with God!

Pycl #4: In the same way you mention the Commandments, you can ask about why the Lord's Prayer can help us to feel closer to God. What about it leads us to God? (Citation S10 tells us it covers all human need.)

Pycl #5: What is a doctrine, what is this particular doctrine? Is it a human thing? Jesus says his doctrine is God's (B8). How do we know whether a doctrine or a law is human or divine? (Does it heal? Does it reveal God's presence and power?) And in citation S7 Mrs. Eddy continues with more of Jesus' words: "If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself." So you might say that by doing what God wants us to do, we can understand whether something we hear, read, see, is from God or from matter! This is a bit like the things we talked about in Pycls 2 and 3 about God's laws.

Pycl #6: I noticed that there are several places in the lesson where the scribes or Pharisees want to "accuse" Jesus, leading up to his crucifixion. Since the Bible is meant to be relevant to our lives today, what do these stories about Jesus healing the man with the withered hand, or preaching in various synagogues tell us about our own lives? The Pharisees wanted to hang on to their material position in society, which Jesus undermined by demonstrating his oneness with God in a way that they didn't do at all. They felt that his elevated, beautiful understanding of God, which made him a healer, was something that made their own understanding look less. Well, it did, but did that mean that his understanding wasn't available to them? Have you ever felt bad about yourself when you were with a friend who is better than you are at something? Jesus teaches us that the goodness of God is available to everyone. He didn't exclude the Pharisees and scribes, they excluded themselves and rather than try to follow Jesus or to understand God in a more spiritual way. They decided to hang on to their material sense of God and self and destroy Jesus. Thing is, you can't destroy what is spiritually true!

Pycl #7: About the only activity I could think of this week relates to the above Pycl. Citation S17 talks about how the Pharisees retained their material beliefs. Maybe you can bring in a box full to the top with material beliefs on wadded pieces of paper (you can come up with some in class but you wouldn't want to spend a lot of time at that endeavor!). You could just wad up blank paper if you wanted and name a few as you throw them away. In order to put into that box anything that is spiritually true and brings us closer to God, we'd have to empty out the material beliefs (because the box is full right?!) You can work together as a class and come up with lots of ideas that Jesus and Moses too, shared with us that bring us a better understanding of God—hence help us feel our closeness or oneness to/with God. Take turns dumping the false in a trash can and filling it up with those great spiritual truths, facts and laws.

Pycl #8: Since this lesson is about the idea of sacrifice—come up with things that you all want to sacrifice or give up that will help us feel our unity with God. Think of it as having a bunch of "layers" of stuff between us and God. These layers are only in thought, but they would seem to distance us from God. Every layer that you strip away gets you nearer to God. Just remember, everything you sacrifice, is a false idea or belief, you are never giving up something really truly valuable! If you have a class that is pretty comfortable you could give the kids thick coats and layers to wear and show how a hug would feel much closer as you strip off each layer of heavy coat, etc. until you are just in your Sunday clothes.

Have fun in Sunday School this week!

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