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[PYCL: Use flashlights and eye-droppers or straws to show "oneness" (1,2); Layered fabric is hard to rend – what is capable of doing it? (5)]

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

“Doctrine of Atonement”
for April 21, 2019

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

Pycl #1: Always make sure that at some point in the class the students have a simple understanding of the "doctrine of atonement" as it is understood by greater Christianity. We can certainly then discover the deeper spiritual significance in our study of this Bible lesson. But we should know how this doctrine is an essential component in the larger Christian community. How do we view this doctrine? What is "the doctrine of Christian Science"? (Citation S21) Have some fun with that doctrine, thinking about what it means to us. You can use some of the more clear analogies to illustrate the idea that we cannot be separated from God, in the same way that a sunbeam cannot be separated from the sun. To demonstrate this turn on a flashlight. In turn, have each student try blocking the beam with a piece of paper or a notecard or something opaque. Have them note that while it may block the beam from reaching, say, the table, it has done nothing to separate the light from its source. In the same way, mortal thought might make us think that man can be separate from God, from Love or Life or Good in some way, but actually it is no different than that piece of paper. The senses cannot truly separate us from our source. We have to "walk in love" as the Golden text tells us, that is, we have to demonstrate daily, Christly living. This kind of daily demonstration, tears away that "paper" that would seem to block our understanding and feeling of being at one with Love.

Pycl #2: Any kinds of demonstrations we can use to illustrate oneness are helpful. You can bring in a glass of water and an eye dropper, or a straw. Pull up a drop of water and then drop it back in to the glass (rather, have them do it). Where did the drop go? Can you "pick" that (same) drop out of the glass again? Even on a broader scale, if the children are older, you can discuss how it is that all water is like this in that it evaporates, rains, runs into rivers, to oceans, evaporates…etc. I know this isn't a perfect analogy, but it gives a hint towards illustrating the grand fact of our oneness with God, never "wasted" or lost, because ultimately it is part of the whole.

Pycl #3: I think I'd be tempted to share the whole crucifixion story. Have a plan in mind so that we can focus on why he was crucified in the first place–what made the church leaders and the crowd so full of fury and hatred–and how are we doing this (crucifying Christ) today? In what ways are we denying the works of Jesus today, and focusing on the language, or the rules, or some other human expression of Jesus' message? He referred people several times, when asked if he was the Messiah, to his works. What came out of the crucifixion that was vital for mankind to learn? I like the passage in the Responsive reading "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life." (italics added) It is the life of Jesus that is vital for us to understand, the resurrection and finally the ascension that really illustrate his message of man's oneness with Love. We need to be fully educated in the crucifixion, so that we can take away a message of hope, joy, spiritual life. We shouldn't try to skip to that joy, though, without welcoming the challenge that leads to it. (Citations S3-6 and others!) In this way we can recognize that these challenges are truly opportunities to prove and revel in our oneness with Love, not difficulties to be avoided.

Pcyl #4: One thing that comes up frequently in my work with young people, is the feeling that while they have seen others have healings, read about others' healings etc., they do not feel that they have experienced them themselves. I often will use the crossing of the Red Sea with Moses as an illustration of how the human mind is really never "satisfied" with one great proof, no matter how spectacular. For this lesson you can look at citation B7 where Jesus once again is answering the question of whether he's the Messiah. He points to his healing work and then says "I and my Father are one". These people have witnessed many healing works that would have been considered impossible or miraculous. But instead, they focus on his statement of oneness with the Father. They want the right "words" and ignore the demonstration of Love's very presence among them illustrated by healing. The disciples were with him most during his healing ministry. Yet, when he was crucified, they thought that his mission had failed. They went back to their old jobs!! All this is to illustrate that actually, the human mind is a pretty stubborn thing. We can be awfully blind to the evidence of Spirit, Love's presence. So, actually, saying that we would "believe" if these things happened in front of us, or to us, is just mortal mind's way of resisting the oneness that we really have with Love, because the recognition of that oneness would invalidate mortal mind, in the same way that Jesus' demonstrations invalidated the thought patterns and lives of the scribes and pharisees.

Pycl #5: So this is just a cool point of interest and a wonderful symbol. Citation B14 points out that when Jesus breathed his last breath, the temple veil ripped from top to bottom. You can show them diagrams/drawings, from books or internet, of the temple. This was a massive structure!! The veil separated everyone from what was thought to be the holiest place, where God would be found. Even the priest could only go behind the veil once a year on a special religious holiday, and then, only with great ritual and respect. So, in essence, the veil was to separate the "rabble", the congregation, from God. Jesus' life mission was to tear down that separation. That's what this lesson is about! This veil was some three inches thick and sixty feet tall!! I've read that it would take many, many men to hang it up in the first place. Try to show them something that is that thickness and help them pick a spot in a tree perhaps, that is sixty feet tall!! This veil split ,without any aid, upon Jesus' death. Have them try to tear something fabric or the like, that is that thick. You may have to layer much fabric together. Give them each a turn. Why did the veil tear? What does this symbolize? In the end, what is it that seems to separate us from Love?

Have a fantastic week in Sunday School!!

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