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[PYCL: Keep Jesus' teachings vital & do his works to show our true gratitude for him! (7) ]
CedarS PYCLs–Possible Younger Class Lesson for The Christian Science Bible Lesson on:

Doctrine of Atonement?”

Sunday, October 19, 2014

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

[Bracketed italics by Warren Huff, CedarS 1st camper, current director & PYCL editor]

 [PYCL 1]
I've watched my ten-year-olds' eyes glaze over already this week as I tried to explain to him about atonement and what it means, so I'm not sure if you might have a better way to introduce this topic… I think keeping it active and down to earth might be good.  It's maybe a bit ironic that in explaining what this doctrine is, we lose the interest and attention, isn't that exactly what this lesson is teaching us?  If life is about a dead, human law, we have lost the entire purpose and fire behind Jesus life and even his crucifixion.  So keeping Jesus' lessons and teachings vital will be the best way to share the importance of this subject.

[PYCL 2]
Jesus came to teach us that we are God's children, His beloved creation, not cast-out, sinning mortals.  He even was able to distill the Jewish law into the two Great Commandments, already contained in the Old Testament but hidden among so many other more 'human' laws of living.  What do those two commandments have to do with atonement?  When we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and our neighbor as ourselves—when we do this completely—we then have given up a mortal model of man and God, because there just isn't any way to obey those commands and see man or God as mortal.  A mortal man is a man separate from God, and Jesus' life demonstrated that man is one with God.  You can talk about how a man made of matter can never really be one with a spiritual God.  Matter is necessarily 'separate'—not only from Spirit— but separate from other men/women.  This may be a way to approach the 'oneness' aspect of atonement.

[PYCL 3]
Sacrifice is another big element of atonement.  You may want to talk about what sacrifice is, what it once meant and how it was done.  If sacrifice is required of us, just what are we to sacrifice?  Maybe we need to sacrifice a stubborn view of who we are, what we want, what we expect of ourselves.  Do we like how we think of ourselves?  Can we write down some of how we describe ourselves and see if any of that description needs to be 'sacrificed'?  What does that burning of sacrifices in the Bible days symbolize?  It's a purifying process, turning the object into smoke that rises up (in those days it was thought that that was where God 'lived').  This rising sense/purifying of our sense of self gets matter out of the way so that there is nothing between us and God.  You can talk a little about the man in Section 3 who was brought to Jesus on a bed.  This symbolizes a great humility, he can't even stand up, he is reduced to a condition where he had to totally rely on others to get him around.  But he also must have possessed a humble sense of self that was receptive to gaining something of the Christ, since Jesus healed him right away, telling him “…thy sins be forgiven thee.” (B10)  His false sense of self as limited to matter and a material, rather ineffective view of God, were eradicated by the healing power of the Christ, which helped elevate his view.  It takes humility to sacrifice our deeply held views of reality right?

[PYCL 4]
What is “unselfed love” (S17)?  It's interesting to note the difference between 'unselfish' and 'unselfed'.  Even the littlest kids can be introduced to this concept.  One kind of love is giving up something that they want or hold dear to themselves and is giving to another in some way.  The other kind of love doesn't see self at the center of the equation, but truly understands the idea of loving his neighbor as himself.  You could illustrate this in terms of having them pretend that they are two of the same people at the same time.  If they were standing in front of themselves, would they do something unkind to themselves?  It sounds a little silly, but maybe it would get them giggling a little and help them think about identity.

[PYCL 5]
Salvation is also a buzzword that surrounds the subject of atonement.  What does it mean, first of all?  What are we being saved from?  How did Jesus save us?  I think these are big questions but can be talked about even with the youngest classes.  Again, it needs to stay active.  Read or retell some stories about Jesus healing, or his disciples, or Paul.  These are the active examples that teach us what we are saved from, a mortal belief of life in matter—a belief that God is an abstract, impractical idea.  Citation S18 tells us “His mission was to reveal the Science of celestial being, to prove what God is and what He does for man.”  Man is not matter, and God is all-powerful, all-active Love.

[PYCL 6]
Reconciliation is another of those words connected with this subject.  I was intrigued this week with citation S21 where Mrs. Eddy quotes Paul “…we were reconciled to God by the [seeming] death of His Son, much more, being reconciled; we shall be saved by his life.”  Since God never stopped seeing man as his perfect idea, Jesus brought us closer in our consciousness to understanding God as our loving Father.  God didn't need to be “brought closer to man”.  Maybe we can see Jesus' death as the way in which it was illustrated to us that there is only one Life, God; matter is not the determining factor.  And we are saved by Jesus' life long demonstration of salvation from sin, sickness and death.  This demonstration was elevated even higher by his ascension which proved irrevocably the powerlessness of matter to come between man and God.

[PYCL 7]
Finally, we should make sure that students go home with the sense that the power of the subject of this week's lesson lies in our own continued practice of healing, following in Jesus' footsteps.  What are those footsteps?  Think of taking a walk where every step represents a practical act of doing as Jesus did.  This will look different according to the age group.  The youngest might take a step where they are cheerfully helping a friend in need, being obedient to mom or dad.  The older may be taking a step to do his/her very best when asked to accomplish a task, resisting the urge to be selfish in a given situation, looking for any opportunity to bless beyond what is easy for them. Perhaps this should be the “opener” for this week's class.  This “doing” of Jesus' works really is the best representation of atonement.  It is our own act of taking up the cross and showing our true gratitude for Jesus!

Have a great Sunday.


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