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[PYCL: Make all your words encouraging to those who hear. Remove flaws with flood-tides of Love, not tweezers. Stop banging your head against the wall to stop it from hurting. (5, 3, 2)]
Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Everlasting Punishment”
for November 4, 2018

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

Pycl #1: If your students are a little older you may want to explain the theological belief that this lesson is addressing, and the reasons why it's included in our lesson topics twice a year! Being raised in Christian Science I was not familiar with these theological ideas and never really knew why they were included for us to study. Why do we study them, how do they forward our growth as Christians and as Christian Scientists? I think a simple answer for the younger crew would be that we are working to get a more spiritual and true understanding of God and to leave behind false, materialistic concepts of Deity. Maybe you could think together about how we think of God.

I was teaching some high school aged kids recently and it was interesting to hear what their ideas of God were and why (they were a lot more "manlike" than I would expect!). It is really helpful in our demonstration of Christian Science to have a clear, spiritually-accurate idea of God. Of course this grows throughout experience, but we can start from a solid foundation!

Also, I think it's interesting that even when we are not "taught" certain ideas about God, they seem to permeate our culture and we adopt them anyway! For example, as Christian Scientists, we do not subscribe to the idea that we have a spiritual "soul" or "component" that resides in our physical body and then is released when we die to go "live with God" or in "heaven". Yet, many of the lifelong Christian Scientists that I speak to, have a concept that is pretty similar to this one. I think we just kind of absorb these ideas even without being exposed to them at church. Like a world belief about some disease that we know we must address, rather than dismiss because we don't "subscribe" to that belief, we still need to make sure that our concept of Christianity or of God or of His son, are not somehow unwittingly influenced by a world belief.

Pycl #2: Ask the students what they think God thinks of them if they are somehow not doing the right thing, "missing the mark"? Many are still stuck with the idea that God knows of their wrongdoing, judges it, and punishes it. What does our Golden Text say about this? What do citations S7, S9, S10 tell us about sin punishing itself? Do you have some examples of this from your own experience? How is this different from "deserving punishment", or from God "punishing" us? Sometimes a funny illustration helps: if you are banging your head against something hard, is your sore head a punishment from God for doing this? What do you have to do to stop your head from hurting?

There are some interesting ideas in Section 5 about laws of Love and the so-called "law" of matter. You can use an example that shows how divine laws that are reflected in human laws that help with order, thoughtfulness, and so on, are good examples of how sin punishes itself and is not "doled out" by the law of God. So a traffic light is an easy illustration. The light is set up to help us move about in safety and order right? If you disobey that light and get hit by another car, the light/traffic law did not "punish" you for disobeying it. The law exists to keep you safe and happy, to promote good and order. But when we don't listen/pay attention, or we willfully disobey it, we suffer from not listening to the law, not from the law itself.

Another good example of this is the story of Manasseh in citation B7. Notice that it tells us that "…the Lord spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken." Consider, with younger children, reading together, the story "Travis Talks with God". This book also illustrates the point that God does not punish us—that God is always guiding us (Travis realizes this when he asks himself why God didn't tell him not to take that final sled run!). Maybe this will lead to a conversation about how God speaks to us and guides us into right activity and how that activity leads us to a more accurate view of ourselves—as free from sin.

Pycl #3: Christie Hanzlik, a huge CedarS supporter, Met contributor, practitioner—produced a "Daily Lift" with a video that beautifully illustrates a passage in Science and Health that is included in this week's lesson, citation S22. If you haven't seen it, briefly, she has a cup full of dirt in front of her and compares it to how we sometimes feel about ourselves as perhaps "sinful". She tells us that we could try to pick out the "dirt", the bad things "in ourselves" that we want to get rid of (and she shows this by picking out pieces of gravel and dirt with tweezers). Or we could just fill our consciousness—"…pour in truth through flood-tides of Love." and here she takes a hose and fills the dirty cup with rushing water until all the dirt is washed away and all you have is clean water.

You can duplicate this, minus the hose, with a pitcher of water and a cup of dirt set inside a washtub. Use a small cup, maybe a quarter full of dirt, so that you don't have to pour more than one pitcher of water. The idea here is to help us understand that when we try to "improve" ourselves by a process of dedication to "picking out the bad" qualities one at a time, we are in for a long and likely unprofitable project. This is because we are starting from a false standpoint. We are starting by thinking of ourselves as "bad" or having "bad" qualities that need to be squelched. Rather, we can flood ourselves with the truth that Love is our only source of being and this is pure, good, flawless! No matter how young or old we are, this is a really helpful reminder! Matter will always try to speak to us of limitation, lack, shame, and so on. "Flood-tides of Love" will always yield a clearer view of man and self!

Pycl #4: I think, we sometimes need a reason to "be good". This lesson reveals some ideas about this. The most helpful reason I've found and one that I think Christian Science summer camp reveals in an awesome way is that it's actually a lot more fun to be good!! Matter tells us that doing wrong will give us something that doing right will not, but this is a total lie! This lie is the "parent" of all evil. (S19)

Think of the story of Adam and Eve and the serpent who tells Eve that actually she'll know more, be happier, like a god, if she disobeys God. Isn't that always the claim of evil. Instead, what does this story illustrate about disobedience? It leads to material death, murder, misery of all sorts. Of course, this is an allegory, but it sure works. The only thing is that it states that God sends them out of Paradise, and foists all these punishments of them because of their sin.

When in fact, the lesson we are learning from Adam and Eve’s disobedience is that actually, God would/could never make His reflection to be able to act in a way that doesn't reflect Him! Bring in a mirror. Can your reflection do something that you are not doing? No! Neither can God create a reflection to do something different that He does! What does that say about bad actions? They cannot be actions of God, and must be something we can erase!

Pycl #5: This translation from the NLV Bible of citation B12 is included in the "MyBibleLesson" this week. "Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them." Wow! We are working to memorize that this week, my boys and I. Broaden the "foul" language to include anything un-Godlike.

Can you make everything you say be good and helpful…encouraging to those who hear? I'm finding this a really excellent challenge this week! Maybe this is something to revisit, like the one I shared in a Pycl from a lesson a few weeks ago that said "Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works." (Hebrews 10:24) These are great verses to memorize and demonstrate daily! What a victory when we find our thoughts coming into line so that these are the only words we want to say—especially within a family where we might be tempted to get impatient, or to let down our guard!

Pycl #6: Most of your students could probably understand that certain "sins" just don't tempt them. For example: they probably aren't tempted by the idea of robbing a bank, or committing murder. These ideas are foreign to their concept of themselves. What we are aiming for in the study of this lesson, in the study of Christian Science, is a deeper understanding that actually, all sin is foreign to God's man.

We aren't trying to "be sinless" any more that we are trying to "demonstrate health". We are actually learning more and more about God and His man, and finding that in this study, we are revealed as sinless, all-good, healthy, whole. This is true of our spiritually true, eternal, substantial, Godlike identity. This is the only real identity and we are working to be more and more conscious of this fact and of this true selfhood!

Have a great week in Sunday School!

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