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[PYCL: See no barriers of separation, distance, time or a problem’s supposed seriousness. (5)]
Possible Younger Class Lessons for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

"Doctrine of Atonement"
for October 15, 2017

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

Pycl #1: I really appreciate the way that Christian Science looks at this subject. So far beyond the sense of Jesus dying for our sins, Christian Science really delves into how Christ Jesus gave us the opportunity to understand our oneness with divine Love. We have, through Christian Science, a way to demonstrate Jesus' understanding of God that brings healing. When we know, truly understand, that we are God's children and heirs of God, we can understand a bit of why we are inseparable from Him. More than a "doctrine" or religious statement of our relationship with God, we have the ability to prove that this relationship is and always has been intact. This is really a point to discuss in some way that relates to young children. If you have a very young class, I would think that focusing on how a parent loves and cares for their child could be related to how God loves us. You can look at the analogy of the nursing mother in Section 1. Would a parent forget that they had a baby that needed them? Well, even more, God would never forget us, no matter how old we get! (B2)

Pycl #2: Along with the first Pycl, you can have each child write someone's name on the palm of their hand with washable pen. Imagine together if that was always on the hand of each of us. How many times a day would you think of that person? Look at the last part of citation B2, or another translation of that passage such as this one from the New Living Translation: "See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands…" Think of God thinking about you, even more than we would of someone written on our hand? Can we even imagine a being that can do that for everyone? Not really, this is why we know that God is not just a really big "person", but divine Love.

Pycl #3: Check out citation B3 and think about how we should worship God. You can mention animal sacrifice, and you can mention the role of sacrifice in this week's subject. What do you think we should "sacrifice" to God? What does God "want" from us? You might think of burnt offerings as like creeds or doctrines, whereas true sacrifice is our healing demonstration of what Jesus taught us to do. Isn't that what he really died for, so that we would take up his work? But see what they come up with for ideas of how to worship God, every day. Look in the Sermon on the Mount for ideas of what God wants, even just the "salt" and letting your light shine part.

Pycl #4: How do we feel our closeness to God? See if they have ideas. I think we will agree that we feel closeness through demonstration, healing. But we can also feel it through expressing God and seeing God expressed around us. Of course expressing God is a form of demonstration right?! You might illustrate it this way. We know our mom/dad love us why: make a list (She/he gives us hugs, tucks us in at night, helps us when we are having a hard time, drives us places, makes us dinner, etc.) If our parents never ever did any of these things, they might still love us, sort of, but we wouldn't feel it right? Love has to be expressed or demonstrated to have it feel real to people! God/Love expresses this love to us by healing. And also, by all the ways that love is expressed to us in our lives, whether through parents, or through others. This love of God is felt, it is not just a "nice thought".

Pycl #4: In Section 3 Jesus tells us to leave our gift for God at the altar if we have anything that keeps us from truly loving our "brother". (B7) Fix that problem first and then we can bring that "gift" to God. If we are bringing this "gift" to God, a sacrifice, we are looking for ways to improve our sense of our closeness to God (God is always close, we just don't always feel it!). We cannot feel close to God, Jesus is saying, if we are not close to God's child, our brother. You may want to make sure they understand the broader implications of "brother". I started thinking of this "gift" giving in terms of an "appropriate" gift versus one that is not going to be appreciated. Whatever we have to offer God, our love for Him is not legitimate if we don't understand the fundamental truth that Love has no enemies. An enemy or even someone that we just don't like is something that we have really created from our own poor thinking. Check out what Mrs. Eddy says in her article "Love Your Enemies" in Misc. p. 8. Can anything we have to offer God be a really good gift, if we aren't seeing someone as His child? Our gifts to one another wouldn't be appropriate, if we didn't love someone enough to find out what they need or appreciate right? Take a minute to talk to each other about what things we enjoy doing, like to play with, or make. What would an appropriate gift for each of us look like? Obviously we are talking about a right kind of love for God, like how we should worship God from Pycl #2, but this exercise is a way of thinking about how we can love our brother better, by understanding them, appreciating their true selfhood. Sometimes this just seems impossible, but we can start in this simple way by sharing these thoughts.

Pycl #5: In Section 4 we have Jesus healing a man's son from a distance. We Christian Scientists don't really think that healing from far away is a big deal; we call practitioners across the globe sometimes for healing and have great results. But to many, this idea is foreign. The point in this story is that God is always at hand. That "human theories" about needing to be treated by medicine perhaps, or needing to touch the person, be in the same room, or theories about how God works—through petition, are just that—theories and not fact. We can discern what in our thought comes from God, is a law of God, and what comes from human thoughts or theories. In this way, we are removing those seeming "barriers" between us and our Father-Mother. Distance is no barrier, time is no barrier, "seriousness" of the problem is no barrier. What does this remind you of? What about the Responsive Reading from Romans 8:38, 39? Even when we get separated from our mom or dad, or a friend… there is no way we can ever find ourselves separate from God. He/She is all around us, all the time.

Have a great Sunday!!

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