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[PYCL: Come up with ways to impact others in a positive way! (3)]
Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Doctrine of Atonement”
for October 21, 2018

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

Pycl #1: Establish what atonement means, both normally and theologically. Why is this a regular subject for our Bible lessons? Jesus spent his career teaching us to have a deeper spiritual understanding of God and man. He did this not through theological means, not by preaching traditionally in the temple, but by healing, and preaching alongside this healing work. In other words demonstration of what he shared was integral.

In traditional theology, the doctrine of atonement seems to require very little of us, Jesus having mercifully decided to die for our sins and cause us to be saved by his crucifixion. As usual, Mary Baker Eddy turns this on its head, showing that what the Master showed us was how to do as he did, how to repent, be baptized, and follow his path on a daily basis, rather than through a "one and done" ceremony. Of course, this does not mean that such a ceremony is necessarily insincere or insignificant! It is more that there is a need for constant rethinking (repentance), constant desire to follow, love, and increasingly demonstrate the truth that our Master revealed.

What does it mean to do something out of a theological belief, vs. out of dedication and prayerful devotion? Are there things that we do today that are similar to just following a theological belief? What if we are following rules because we are afraid of getting caught rather than out of a desire to do right or out of love? This could be an interesting conversation if your students are not super young. What is the difference as long as you are following the rules? Atonement appears to require, as Jesus tells us many times, "repentance". If repentance means rethinking, just what are we asked to rethink?

Pycl #2: One way to consider the last question above is to look at the Golden Text together. This New Living Translation (NLT) version of Micah 6:8 really helps us to see what God asks of us each day, what in fact, He "…has told…" us! He has told each of us what is good and what He requires of His children. It is these three things: 1) do what is right; 2) love mercy; 3) walk humbly with your God.

Have some fun digging into these three requirements and what they mean. Are they something you can define once and for all? Is doing right the same for a toddler as it is for a teen? What about for you, vs. a friend of yours?

What does it mean to "love mercy"?

How do we walk "humbly" with God?

These are such deep discussion starters. I think that we could post these three requirements on a wall and look to them each week to see what we've been doing to follow these God requirements! It is interesting to think about what God has told each of us. It says that He has told us…do we hear?

Is it going to sound the same to each of us?
What do these requirements have to do with atonement?
Are they ways that we can demonstrate and hence feel our oneness with God?

Pycl #3: This is a great passage to memorize as a theme for a week (or for a lifetime!). I've been doing this for this week with my boys: "…let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:" I just love this because we often think of the word "provoke" as a way to incite something bad in others, but it certainly isn't inherently meant that way. When you have a few boys that seem to be bent on provoking one another in the wrong ways, this is a mighty verse to counteract that suggestion. How do we "provoke" one another unto love, or good works"? Can the class make a list of ways? Ours began with how not to make another angry, etc. But I encouraged them to think of ways to positively "provoke" one another.

So see if your students can come up with ways to impact others in a positive way!
Can they come up with a list for their siblings/parents/friends for the week to come?
Can we check back in a week to see what was successful?

How can they remind themselves of this verse during the week?
I thought about writing it down for my boys to put in their pocket. I think for us it will be easier to remind ourselves each morning, maybe during the day. But for Sunday School maybe they need a little something in their pocket. For the youngest it could be a fun ring to wear, or friendship bracelet or something like that! If you have embroidery thread in bright colors they could each braid themselves a simple bracelet in class (no complicated patterns this time!).

Pycl #4: Citation S2 tells us that our unity with God has to "…be wrought out in life-practice" in order to make it truly atonement. How do we demonstrate our unity? There are several examples in this week's lesson. Maybe one place to start is with citations B6 and B7 from the Sermon on the Mount.

Do you think that part of the reason Jesus shared this Sermon with us was so that we would understand how we are one with God, how to feel our oneness?

How do we demonstrate being a "peacemaker"?
How does loving our neighbor, or our enemy, prove that we are one with God?
If we are one with one another, never allowing anger and resentment to take the upper hand, then aren't we understanding better how we are actually united in the one and only Mind?
Isn't this passage from the Sermon a perfect example of how Jesus took the theological law that we are to love our neighbor and spiritualized it even more deeply by saying "that's not enough—is too easy", actually, we must love our enemies!?

Pycl #5: In citation S10 is a lesson on healing as Jesus did. It might be fun to talk about how to give a treatment so that we can follow Jesus more successfully. These directions could be written out in a list form and posted on the wall of your classroom—or you could give them each a copy in list form, or have them create their own on card stock.

How do we "dispute the testimony of the material senses with divine Science."? (S10)
See if they can come up with ways that we "dispute" what we see/feel/hear.
Do we have to replace the false with the true?
What does it mean to "dismiss" something?
Do we ask questions about it?
Go back to thinking about where it came from, how we "got" it etc.? You get the idea. What does it mean that we should "suffer no claim of sin or sickness to grow upon the thought." Think about that, "no" claim. So we need to learn to stop these claims right away, never allowing them to take root ("grow"). That means we kind of have to be alert, and be ready to quickly identify and get rid of those thoughts!

Pycl #6: One thing we can gain from recognizing our unity with our Father-Mother Mind is a depth of knowledge that is not based on human endeavor, but on our motive to express Love. Citation B14 (John 7:14-18) describes this kind of understanding that Jesus expressed without formal church training.

Have a great week in Sunday School!

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