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[PYCL: Find light burdens, a brighter world in His “unveiled, sweet mercies”! Hymn 253]
Possible Younger Class Lessons for The Christian Science Bible Lesson on:

Doctrine of Atonement
for Sunday, April 19, 2015

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

Pycl #1: Obviously, it would be good for the kids to know what atonement means in the Bible and in Christian faith in general. Then they can understand better how we think of it in Christian Science. With the older kids you may be able to ask them how Christian Science looks at atonement a bit differently than other Christian faiths. For us, as I see it, atonement is the example (through his life) that Jesus gave, to best illustrate our unity or oneness with God. In order for us to feel this unity we have to demonstrate it through healing, and living in obedience to Love. I realize this comes as a statement rather than question for the kids, but hopefully they might arrive at that conclusion as we lead them through a few of the examples that are shared in this lesson. How did Jesus’ healing work show man’s unity with God? How does healing, in general, display our oneness with God?

Pycl #2: It might be of interest to the kids for you to bring in some pictures of what the tabernacle might have looked like in Moses’ day, and the temple in Jesus’ day. Moses’ tabernacle, of course, had to be much more mobile than Jesus’ temple. The veil makes an interesting detail. Citation B2 is explaining the origins of how the very holiest place, where the ark was kept, should only be entered once a year (on the “day of atonement”), and only by the holiest priest—in this case Aaron. Symbolically, what did this mean? Maybe you could see it as: “Don’t come before God casually with a mortal frame of mind. But enter into unity with and obedience to God with a deeply holy intent. Sacrifice every “valuable” mortal or material thought before you “come before” Him (a bullock and ram would have been the most valuable sacrifices you could make). Do all this for yourself first, then for all the rest—just as we should pray for ourselves, get our own thought straight/spiritualized before praying for others.

Pycl #3: This idea of sacrifice, special times for it and a special exclusive place for it, yields to a higher sense with Jesus’ coming. Even citation B4 from Samuel indicates that there is a more spiritual worship to be done than sacrifice of animals. But Jesus is the one that really breaks down the worship of God from a material to a spiritual standpoint. He removes that “separation” between God and man. This is represented by the veil of the temple, mentioned in citation B2. This veil was several inches thick and it was torn when Jesus was crucified. This removal of the barrier is symbolic of the removal of all the human/theological walls that prior to this time made direct communication with God impossible. It also symbolizes the removal of matter as a barrier to the blessings that God/Love bestows on all of us. Jesus’ demonstrations over the so-called laws of matter proved that God is one with man. [See PS “unveiled”.]

Pycl #4: By giving us a clearer picture of God, Jesus demonstrated to mankind the statement in citation B6. This revealing of God to man is ongoing through our own demonstration of His power and goodness. I love the inclusion of citations B8 and S12 which speak of ‘new’ and ‘newness’… Jesus presented this ‘new’ sense of God as one with man, of God as understandable and reachable. Love is approachable, warm and loving. This was the God that Jesus showed us. This was a new view of God and it can be a new view of God for us now as well!

Pycl #5: It might be interesting for your students to look at Section 3 in light of the way that Jesus had understanding and insight that was not commensurate with his education. He knew and could preach about things that he had not been formally taught. MBE gives us a hint about where this kind of skill comes from in citation S18 where she speaks of how Christ has removed the barriers (“rolled away the stone”) of mortal limitations from our hope and our faith. That through our demonstration of Christian Science in our life, these qualities go from being merely human, to a deeply spiritual unity with God, and man as idea. It is great news that we don’t have to rely on having a “smart brain” to succeed, or understand deep things. Understanding stems from spiritual unity with our Father-Mother, something we all have!

Pycl #6: I know this is more work with the idea of ‘veil’, but I think that it could be fun to dig into it a little deeper by bringing in a piece of fabric, one that is opaque. Have them hold it in front of their face to see that it blocks their view. Talk about how hard it would be to have that in the way all the time. Bring up the comparison with how things look to us when everything is based in the idea that God is far away, hard to understand, that maybe we think we need a person to help us to feel close to God. That’s kind of like thinking that there is a veil over us keeping out the light and the ideas and the healing that God/Love brings. Citation B15 relates to this idea, maybe for some of the older kids. When we have “crucified” the material “affections” and desires, it is like tearing down that veil, that barrier between us and God. [See PS.] The more we have healing in our lives, the more we perceive that matter is like a thin piece of fabric that we can just tear or pull away from our sight.

Pycl #7: This might be a little silly, but I was looking at the word “indissoluble” in citation S25, as in the “indissoluble spiritual link” that exists between God and man. I thought it might be fun to talk about that word. Bring in a couple of things that dissolve in water, and a thing or two that don’t dissolve in water to demonstrate the idea. Then explain how that relates to the link that we have with God. Citation S28 kind of drives that idea home though it doesn’t use the word “indissoluble”.

Have a great Sunday!

[PS “Then His unveiled, sweet mercies show Life’s burdens light. I kiss the cross, and wake to know A world more bright.” Hymn 253:3]

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