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[PYCL: Help pupils feel their Father-Mother loves them in practical, meaningful ways!]
CedarS PYCLs–Possible Younger Class Lessons for:

Doctrine of Atonement
The Christian Science Bible Lesson for October 20, 2013

by Kerry Jenkins, CS, House Springs, MO
(314) 406-0041
[bracketed inserts by Warren Huff]

[PYCL 1:  Above all, help pupils feel their F-M loves them in practical, meaningful ways!]
As teachers and parents, and even just kid-lovers, I think we all want one main thing for our children.  We want them to know above all things, that they are loved by their Father-Mother in a practical and meaningful way.  This lesson communicates this most effectively so let's see if we can share that idea with them in a way that is tangible to them.  I think that sometimes we can get kind of complicated when we share C.S. in Sunday School, but, while there are some challenging issues (such as atonement), we don't have to be complicated in our approach to them.

[PYCL 2:  Discuss how atonement & the crucifixion teach unity with God & how to worship]
We could spend a bit of time talking about what atonement means to Christians and to Christian Scientists specifically.  There are some passages in the lesson that state explicitly what atonement and the crucifixion are, or did for us and you could just isolate those passages and look at them together. (Citation S6, S7, S19, S20, and S22 are some examples.)  Usually when we talk about atonement we emphasize our unity with God and how we worship God.  Can you figure out together why the subject of atonement is linked to these ideas?  

[PYCL 3: Show how the 1st Commandment teaches us about our unity with omnipresent God]
Along with the above question you can probe the First Commandment for what it tells us about our relationship to God and what it says about how we worship God.  Since the Commandments are one of the Manual-based subjects for Sunday School it is always wonderful to find an "excuse" to bring them into the conversation.  How does the 1st Commandment teach us something about our unity with God and what does it say about how we worship God?  Why does the 1st Commandment help us understand that we are one with our Father-Mother?  If there is only one God and we are His offspring, as the Bible teaches, then can we be separated from an omnipresent Father-Mother?  What does this mean for us practically?  Look also at the passage from Deuteronomy but cited in citation S2 as a question: "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind."  This is basically another form of the 1st Commandment.  Do you think if we obey that Commandment we will begin to feel that love because we will see all the ways that we are blessed by our Father-Mother?  Can you come up with some examples of this?  Why is this the "El Dorado" of Christianity and what does that mean?  How do we develop a greater love for God?  Is it through healing?  Can we do it through expressing more gratitude?  Isn't gratitude how we recognize and acknowledge God's presence around us?

[PYCL 4:  Remove "strange god(s)" that would get in the way of feeling we’re one with God!]
Maybe notice in the Responsive Reading the message: "and there was no strange god with him." What does that mean to us today?  What might be a "strange god" that would get in the way of us feeling that we are one with God?  Citation S5 tells us we have to "live" our unity with God, we have to practice it.  This "living" of our unity might be a way to describe how we take part in the atonement.  Can you think together of ways that we "live" our unity with God?  How about we live this unity by checking our thoughts to see if they represent things that support our one-ness with God, or someone else's one-ness?  You could use some note cards with such "thoughts" and hold them up to identify which are thoughts that support unity and which do not.  They could even be positive thoughts and not support that unity if they are thoughts that we are "good" at something, and not something else, for example. What is the source for our being "good" at something?  With the little ones you can talk about a quality like helpfulness.  Is that a quality that shows that we are one with our Father-Mother God?  Is Love helpful?  How about Truth?  Truth uncovers the lie.  So God is helpful and we, being one with Her, must also be helpful.  If we don't feel like being helpful then we are listening to a "strange god" that tells us we are separate from Love, and we know there is only one God!

[PYCL 5:  Discuss how the sun (like Love) always wins out, even on dark days!]
Ask if they have ever noticed that there are days that are darker than others.  Maybe it's like it was here this morning when we woke up and it was super dark because it was raining and getting later in the fall.  My kids noticed right away and wondered why it was so dark.  But eventually the sun wins out.  It may not be a sunny day, but it still gets light.  Clouds can hide the sun from view but they can't obscure the sun's light completely.  Look at citation S7 together and see if this analogy helps to bring some light to those powerful statements for the littler ones.  Love, God, is always bestowing love on man.  Man can never be deprived of this love, its warmth and light!  Just like the sun is always making the day brighter, no matter what the clouds do.  We can't be separated from Love. When we focus on God's love and light for man, it's like shining the light straight on all the good around us and making it really obvious.  This, in turn, makes us happier and healthier too! 

[PYCL 6: Show how Jesus took Moses' laws to a higher level of love! Boldly obey out of love!]
I know some of these ideas overlap but I think it would be fun to ask the kids what they think of the Commandments.  Are they rules that keep us in line? In line with what?  Do they restrict us? If so how?  If not, how do they bring freedom? (S2)  Why do you think we have rules at all?  Are they for us to follow "just because"?  Talk about the aspect in this lesson of dogmatic attachment to creed.  They don't have to know all the ins and outs of creeds, etc. but they can see that Jesus brought Moses' lessons from great laws to a higher level of love.  Don't we always want to do things because we love to?  How can we make more of our experience arise from loving what we obey?  Generally we love our parents for example.  Why is that?  Isn't it because they do so much for us and with us?  Can we start to see what God is doing for us and how She is being with us?  When we know what to say in class, God is with us!  When we are happy and funny, Mind is with us.  When someone picks you up at school because your mom or dad can't, or even if mom and dad do… God is doing that for you, providing you with a home, food and so on.  We don't want to make the mistake that so many people do in the Bible and today of following the rules, because that's just what you do.  Citation B13 says a bit about this.  I think we see this in the motive of the man asking Jesus the question.  Jesus apparently perceived it.  The man wanted to have Jesus give him a "good work" that would essentially give him "brownie points", some kind of credits with God.  Our goal would be to obey from love.  We want to live love, and we do because we are one with Love.

Hope these ideas help get you started.
Maybe from here you can get more project oriented! Have a great Sunday!

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