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[PYCL: Send ‘em home feeling Love never punishes, but blesses all with superabundance!]
Possible Younger Class Lessons for The Christian Science Bible Lesson on:

Everlasting Punishment
for Sunday, May 3, 2015

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

Pycl #1: If you have students older than 7 or so, or sophisticated younger ones, it would be great to read together the Golden Text and Responsive Reading. Talk about how these were actual prayers/songs to God. How do we talk to God? Do we ask things of God? Do we sometimes feel like we aren’t hearing answers? What does it look like the Psalmist was feeling here? I think it can be really inspiring for them to realize, in some measure, that there was a real person behind these Bible passages. There was someone who felt sad, or worried, or afraid and was asking God for help. Or there were times where the gratitude and joy just poured out in poems and songs.
Or maybe because the Psalmist was praying so fervently and often, he was flooded with this gratitude and insight into God’s goodness. What does that say about the results that can come from our own desires?

Pycl #2: What would a “song in the night” be? What does that mean today? Can they come up with a prayer of their own that would help them in a “night”/dark moment? Can they write it down? Maybe it would even be a verse from the Bible.

Pycl #3: In citation B3 it tells us that God made us and gave us our identity and individuality. (“…called thee by thy name…”). You belong to Him. Can you “miss the mark”, be “sinful” if you are the very way that God has made you? Does it make sense that He would create someone or something bad? What does that mean for times when we don’t behave or think the way we know we should? Does that mean we are “bad”? This is, based on my experience, a question that kids do ask themselves. No amount of telling them they are “perfect” will erase their doubts. So maybe we can come up with some healing examples of behavior changed and thought about self that has changed. Personal examples are wonderful. We don’t want to throw around any glib statements of truth about man that they can’t connect to. The idea of dirt on a mirror that obscures the true reflection might be helpful. The dirt is not part of the reflection, or even the mirror. It certainly does seem to alter the reflection though! What can we do about it? You could bring in a mirror to demonstrate this if you think that would work with your class. Then discuss how our thoughts about ourselves or others can sometimes be like that dirt on the mirror. They aren’t true about God or His reflection, but they can seem to alter what we see. You can look at citation S27 to illustrate this thought.

Pycl #4: Read or tell the story of the Prodigal Son. Talk about a parable and what it means if they don’t know that. Discuss the idea that the son asked for something unusual, even a bit rude, when he asked for his inheritance early. What did it mean that he went “into a far country”? Did he want his father to know what he was doing? If he had stayed in the “neighborhood” would he have felt comfortable spending the money and living badly? How is that like being honest with our own parents and with living close to God? Does the story emphasize how badly the son lived or does it focus on how wonderful his repentance and redemption were? Do we sometimes get over-focused on what we did wrong rather than on our true identity? Is God always there to welcome us, no matter what?

Pycl #5: What is progress? What does this parable tell us about progress? Did the younger son make much progress in his understanding of spiritual things and of God? Did the older son make much progress? It is great to “do the right thing” but I think this story points out that progress is the most essential part of the equation. Progress means growing in our spiritual understanding. That takes effort to move past what we find comfortable, and to challenge ourselves. That means working to be better healers all the time! The older son felt like he was good (even better) in comparison with his younger brother. Is it good to compare ourselves to others when we determine how much progress we are making? Can you think of anything that you’d like to make progress with in your life? How might you pray about that this week? Can we check back each week to see if we are making the progress we’d like and to share with each other how we can do better?

Pycl #6: I love the word “superabundance”. What about talking about that idea in citation S14? What does it take to enjoy the superabundance of being? Can you all come up with some ideas that lead to that kind of existence? What things might not make that list?

Pycl #7: Try a re-enactment of Bartimaeus’ story. Bring a cloak (a large piece of fabric is fine!) Talk about the beggar’s cloak that he threw off himself and what that represents. Have them throw that cloak off themselves as they think about what lies they can set aside that darken that mirror that shows them as radiant reflections of God. Talk also about the townspeople that were telling him to be quiet. What might those voices represent in our own thought? Are there thoughts that tell us we: “aren’t smart enough—fast enough—patient enough—good enough in any way? What did Bartimaeus do with those voices? “…he cried the more a great deal…” And not only that, he recognized and cried out for the Christ, the healing Truth!

Everyone should go home feeling that God would never punish, only embrace all in Love. Happy Sunday!

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