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[PYCL: Discuss the Easter story as told in this week’s lesson. Share what it means for us every day! (1) Reach beyond “the veil” of matter. (2)
Possible Younger Class Lessons for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

"Doctrine of Atonement"

For April 16, 2017

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

Pycl #1: So, I imagine that no one will let this Sunday pass without discussing Easter, what its significance is, how the Bible lesson this week tells the Easter story. You can certainly help small children understand that Easter really has nothing at all to do with the bunnies, chicks, candy and eggs that are so prevalent. No need to destroy anyone's joy in such celebration, but helping to make a distinction would be good. If you feel led, it may be helpful also to give a brief history of the origins of that whole "other" spring part of Easter—basically originating as a pagan fertility celebration rolled into the spring solstice, when the day and night are more even in length (depending on where on the globe you live!). In other words, one has nothing to do with the other. Ask the children what Easter celebrates? What does that event mean for us today—and every day? What are we doing this coming week that shows our understanding of the Easter message? You may want to have some ideas at hand for how you are demonstrating daily the message of Easter so they have a "jumping off point".

Pycl #2: What does Atonement mean? What does it have to do with the Easter story and message? I wonder if it would be helpful to think of this Easter message being, in part, the idea that Jesus showed us all that matter (sin, disease, death) cannot separate us from God, from Love? He showed us this through all the healing he did throughout his life, but especially in his rising from the tomb and in his ascension. It's a tricky subject, but I've been thinking a lot about how to try to put it in simple words, and the message that comes to me is that raising people from the dead (in this case himself), is not about making matter "live" longer. It's about illustrating that life is not subject to matter. The real life of man is one with God and therefore not subject to matter at all. Citation S25 speaks of the "…anchor of hope…" being cast beyond the "veil of matter". Bring in a piece of fabric that is sheer. Talk about what an "anchor" is. It is something that grabs onto the bottom of the sea/lake/river to hold us in place, so that our boat doesn't drift away. Why does "hope" need to go beyond matter in order to give us the peace and joy (stability) that come from the kingdom of heaven? Hold up that piece of sheer fabric and use it to illustrate how spiritual reality would seem to be on the other side of this "veil" of matter. We can feel it often through the love of our family or friends, through joyful activity, through beautiful surroundings, and especially through Christian Science healing. But to keep that sense of joy and hope, we have to reach beyond the material sense of things, through that "veil" of matter and into God's true, real, kingdom. It's really a place in Spirit, accessible through our thought. The fabric, you can explain, just gives us a visual image of how we have to reach beyond what we see in front of our eyes to see what Jesus saw when he healed. In actuality, we are learning that matter cannot separate us at all from Love.

Pycl #3: Show a picture of the giant stone that would have been rolled in front of Jesus' tomb. (There is a photo of a stone such as may have been used, in the My Bible Lesson for this week). Stand up and illustrate for them the size of the stone, the likely shorter stature of people from that era, then find a comparable weight to such a stone. A silly comparison is always fun. Talk about how it was not moved, in Jesus' case, by a person. How did it get moved? Look at citation S21 together. Mrs. Eddy talks about rolling away the stone from the door of human hope and faith. What is she talking about? Do we sometimes feel like there's a heavy "stone" in our way of being happy, intelligent, talented, healthy, and so on? What is she telling us here that can help us move that "stone" away? Working with that passage, how can we find our unity with Love through understanding God as Jesus illustrated? Who is helping us today? (Christ!–the same Christ that Jesus embodied as did other prophets before him.)

Pycl #4: Citation S30 includes several of the tenets of Christian Science. Consider working together to memorize the 6th one. One Mind, the Mind of Christ, is a great way to drive home this week's message of unity with God. [CedarS Camps’ Met author and Resident Practitioner,] John Biggs, has an article in this week's Sentinel and its is a great one about there not being many little "minds" out there trying to accomplish their own agendas. You may find it helpful for some of the older children. is a link to that article!

Pycl #5: God didn't send Jesus to torture him for our sins. This may not be a theological subject that the children are aware of, but like so many stories in the Bible, from a material perspective, the crucifixion just seems like such a grotesque example of cruelty. It cannot be the outcome of Love, or a loving God. Citation B1 tells us that Jesus came to show us how we should live, "through him"! Real life is not a fulfilling existence in 'peaceful' matter. Real life is the vigorous, vital experience of divine being. We don't get there by living matter "to the hilt", but by gradually outgrowing matter completely, until we leave it behind, as Jesus did in the ascension. Citation S2 is helpful here as well, pointing out that as we grasp the understanding of God that Jesus illustrated for us, we are no longer subject to the "laws" of matter. How did Jesus help us to understand God better? Can we think of ways this week that Jesus helps us, individually, to really know God and know that we are never ever separate from God? (Again, your own suggestions here will help them come up with their own ideas.) If life in matter were always super fun, totally healthy, completely loved, would we ever try to reach beyond matter to God, to what is real? It would be like having a really, really, awesome dream and never wanting to wake up right? Well, we do want to wake up because there is nothing better than knowing that we are one with Love, nothing happier, more fun, more consistent and rewarding.

Happy Easter!

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