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[PYCL: See with a God’s-eye view where blame doesn’t fit! “Eat” with Christ! (3, 5)
Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

Everlasting Punishment
for May 3, 2020

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

Pycl #1: Seize the moment to talk about the difference between "punishment" & "discipline"
I think asking the students about punishment would be interesting. What are their thoughts? Do they see it as helpful? Necessary? Something that a parent does? Something that God does? Talk about the difference between "punishment" and "discipline" (discipline involves teaching and learning—punishment, well, punishes, inflicts some kind of negative physical or emotional influence). What a terrific opportunity to think together about how they view God.

If God is the law of Love, where would punishment fit into that law? Then look at this combination for the best parenting ever! It's part of citations S7 and S8: "…he who refuses obedience to God, is chastened by Love." "Love enriches the nature, enlarging, purifying, and elevation it." This would be the perfect goal of anything we do to correct our children right?!!

Punishment seems like a personal thing. Consider the idea that were we to be so silly as to jump from a tall building, would it be God or Love who punishes us with the discomfort of a hard landing? No. We simply disregarded the laws of gravity. When we live in harmony with these laws, we will find ourselves in a lot more comfort and joy right? In the same way, when we are obedient to God's laws, we find ourselves safer aware of Love's government and harmony. You can illustrate this by knocking a ball of paper or something off of the table you are at. Is God "punishing" the paper?

Pycl #2: [Lift thought to a God’s-eye view where blame and punishment just don’t fit!]

Is it our fault, or another's, if we get hurt, or sick? Maybe little ones don't think this way, so don't go on a "fishing expedition" if this sounds bizarre to them—but many of us think of Christian Science as if we have to know the "right thing" or we can't get healed, as if we are somehow to blame for the illness/accident. Jesus never asked these questions. He simply told us that healing was for the glory of God, and then healed people! Citations S1-S5 in our first section give us a pretty complete sense of what Love does and is capable of. Blame, recrimination, punishment, just don't fit. Does this mean that we are not constantly working to see ourselves and others and God more clearly through more consecrated obedience to Good? Of course not.

Pycl #3: Share thoughts on how to proceed when someone we love has made a mistake!
Share the story in Section 2 about Miriam and Aaron. What does it tell us about punishment/mercy? Did God "give" Miriam leprosy? Maybe we can see her corrosive and ugly sense of envy and criticism as the true "leprosy" from which she and Aaron needed to be purified. I think you can work further with this story by reading and thinking about citation B6 and how we can implement this part when someone is unkind or cruel?

I also love what Warren always says at camp about envy, using the phrase "thank you God, that's mine too!" We are never short on a talent, ability, whatever. Love's infinite gifts are free to all of us. What does Moses do when Miriam gets leprosy? Does he say: "serves you right!"? In those days someone with a disorder like leprosy would have to spend a certain number of days in isolation "regaining" their purity, and then there were ceremonies to go through before rejoining the regular populace. Did Miriam's community ditch her and go ahead, or did they lovingly embrace her and forgive, waiting until she could travel with them? Just some thoughts for how we can proceed when someone we love has made a mistake!!

Pycl #4: See church as a perfect place to heal as Jesus did in freeing a bent-over woman!

Church is naturally the perfect place to heal and free someone from disease!
What does the story of the woman who was bowed together teach us in this lesson? What is it like to be bent over like that, have the students give it a try. What is their view of things around them? What are they stuck looking at? Do you think she felt like she had much value? What does Jesus compare her healing to? (Her freedom is analogous to letting an ox loose from his stable to get a drink of water on the Sabbath.) Why did he use this analogy? This is how Jesus convinces the church officials that her healing is an act of compassion in accordance with the Commandments, rather than opposed to them.

You may point out to them that the theological beliefs, then and now, involved a sense of condemnation for such a disease." It must be God's punishment, she must have done something wrong to deserve this position in society." Jesus freed her from the bondage of that belief. Church is naturally the perfect place to heal and free someone from disease!

Pycl #5: "Eat" with the Christ—take in Christ ideas and learn what Christ teaches us!
Jesus is found eating with "sinners" in the Responsive Reading and he uses the parable about the Pharisee and the publican in Section 4. Is there anyone who doesn't need the lessons of love that Christ Jesus taught? Why does humility help us find healing? What does being humble mean? Don't we all want to "eat" with the Christ—take in Christ ideas, learn what Christ teaches us? What does the story in the next section tell us? Was Simon (the sorcerer) humble? [B18, Acts 8:9 “giving out that himself was some great one.”] Where did Simon think the power to heal came from? Why did he think he could buy it?

Pycl #6: Use the Ten Commandments (& the 1st one) to open up the ideas in this lesson.
With young classes you can use the Ten Commandments to open up some of the ideas in this lesson. We have the one: "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." But the end of the Section 6 has the passage about the First Commandment being Mary Baker Eddy's favorite text. [SH 340:16, S29] Why do they think that is? How can it become one of ours?

Have a wonderful time in Sunday School!!

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