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[PYCL: Get ready for floodtides! Feel like you have a million in the bank, not a dollar! (2, 6)]
Possible Younger Class Lessons for the Christian Science Bible Lesson for

[N]”Everlasting Punishment”
on October 30, 2016

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

Pycl #1: This lesson subject presents us with the theological suggestion that we could be condemned to eternal punishment for sins. And along with that, the suggestion that God would decide to bestow this punishment. If the children are young you could bring up the subject of punishment. Does God punish man? Does Love punish man? Citations S2, S9, S11, S27, S30—these are some of the passages that, in one way or another, tell us that sin punishes itself. What about God's creation is sinful, or deserving of punishment? Why create something that would do evil? As Christian Scientists, we can be tempted to dismiss this sort of subject. But just because we don't buy into this traditional theological view doesn't mean that the subject of sin and punishment and evil isn't a sticky and challenging one. So let's see what we can share in Sunday School that might bring some light to the subject. Key here is the understanding that sin punishes itself. A simple analogy might be to have one of the kids bang their head on the table. If they were to do this over and over again, their head might get a bit sore and tired of being banged, right? Did God punish them for doing this? Or was the act of banging their own head on the table what caused the discomfort? This is much like how we get "punished" for our sins or self-imposed sense of distance from God.

Pycl #2: Purity is kind of like an opposite of sin. This is because it helps us to feel close to God, to Good, when we are only entertaining pure thinking. What is pure thinking? Is it boring? What about clear, pure water? Is that boring? Or is it life-sustaining, thirst-quenching, cooling, cleansing, warming, and so on? Think of all the things that seeing through a clear window brings into our experience. We see things truly; we perceive light, color, beauty, movement. An extreme might be a window so dirty that we can hardly see out of it! Think of washing a dirty window as like washing away the barrier that we have built up so that we feel far away from God's goodness. Feel free to illustrate this by having the children wash an actual window. The dirtier it can be ahead of time the better the illustration. Christie included a link to her “Daily Lift” on “Floodtides of Love.” You can find this video at http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=00F9CMNU. It stems from the passage in citation S22 about "flood-tides of Love". Feel free to incorporate this into the discussion of purity. Along with this you can talk about the way that dirt washes off us, off the window. It doesn't make us into a different person, or the window a different window, but removes whatever obscures that original.

Pycl #3: In that same citation (S22) Mrs. Eddy uses the illustration of "straining out gnats and swallowing camels". I think this can be fun to look at very literally with the children (young ones). We pass over it, knowing the reference, but let them really think about the size of a gnat compared to a camel… what are we "straining out"? Why this analogy here, what is she warning us against? This is an important theme in the New Testament, though not mentioned in this particular way often. It is what the scribes and Pharisees did by finding objections to Jesus' amazing works. They were focused on points of law, rather than rejoicing in the healing power of Love (Section 3 has one example). Sin can often get us to focus on the wrong thing, especially on others rather than ourselves. (This can be likened to Jesus' passage about casting the beam out of our own eye before casting the mote out of another's.)

Pycl #4: This analogy might be a little too well-worn, but one way to think of God's love for man is like the sun. It is always shining, night and day, storm or clear. (You may have to explain how it continues to shine on the opposite side of the globe at night…) No matter whether there are clouds that make it hard for the sun to penetrate and to warm and light things up—it still shines with the same warmth. God loves us no less when we sin, doesn't know that we sin. We are never farther from Him/Her. But we don't feel the sun as well when it is cloudy. You can think of the clouds as representing sin. They are substance-less, they "burn off" with the heat and light of the sun. You get the picture…

Pycl #5: It could be interesting to look at the story of Cain and Abel. (This, of course, is as an example of mythology.) Mrs. Eddy does talk about the more lively, elevated offering that Abel brings (symbolically, of course). But it is also interesting to think of how, in the Adam-myth, God curses the ground and says that man will work it by sweat and toil. By favoring Abel's offering it would imply that God is not impartial and universal in Her bestowals of good (S5). This is not the focus of this section, just an interesting observation. And then, finally, down at the bottom of citation B7 and in citation B8, we have the message that the Adam man—Cain—born into matter, certainly can sin, be a murderer, hate his brother. But we know that the true man, born of Love, must reflect the God who is Love itself. As citation S6 points out, the true man cannot come from a material sense of origin.

Pycl #6: Christian Science is wonderful in the way that it reveals Truth, not "religion", traditions, and theological doctrines. Looking at citation S30, one of the tenets of Christian Science, we see that "…the belief in sin is punished so long as the belief lasts." One fun way to illustrate this is to show the kids a bank ledger. Have them write in $1,000,000.00. Now, let's just say that we really do have that in our account. But pretend that we've made a banking error… give them another ledger, or have them start it out this way… whatever works for you. Have them make a "mistake" with the decimal point. Let's say we get a balance that instead reads: $1.00. This might change our activities for the week, right? We'd not go grocery shopping; we wouldn't be able to leave the house because we couldn't purchase fuel for our car… and so on. But we'd be mistaken. The decimal wouldn't change the fact that we had a million dollars; it changed our "belief". And so, we'd live like we were lacking, we might even be worried, sad, fearful and so on. But it would all be for naught! In the same way, our belief that we have a material life separate from God and that that is the life that we are dedicated to, (rather than one of unselfish service to God and His idea), will continue to bring us up short as long as we believe in it. It does not change the fact that we are His unchangingly wonderful spiritual ideas, but it makes us feel like we have a dollar in the bank rather than a million.

Have a great Sunday!!

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