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[PYCL: Stop “banging your head on the table”!! See sin as “baseless trickery!” (1)]
CedarS PYCLs–Possible Younger Class Lesson for The Christian Science Bible Lesson on:

Everlasting Punishment

Sunday, November 2, 2014

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

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

 [PYCL 1]
Talk about heaven and hell and look together at Mrs. Eddy's definition of each. The definition of hell is in this week's lesson—B5. With the littler ones you can talk through these definitions more in your own words, with the definitions in front of you.  What do they think that heaven and hell are?  Let them talk about it rather than filling it in for them.  This lesson “introduces” hell in the first section, and then goes on to illustrate different kinds of hell.  There is the hell that comes with a sense of our innocence being stolen, of being victimized; there is the self-imposed hell of sin; there is the hell of long-term physical suffering; and then we have the 5th section of how to leave these “hells” and the 6th section rejoicing in the destruction of hell through the destruction of sin.  Once they seem clear on what hell is, you can illustrate the idea by pretending to bang your head on the table.  They will naturally ask you what you are doing!  Say “ouch” each time.  You can keep going, and ask them how to make your head feel better?  They will probably tell you to quit banging your head on the table!  Then you can talk about how that's a lot like sin.  The only difference being that sometimes sin seems like it is fun/feels good.  But it always, always ends up being painful in the end.  How do we stop the pain?  We stop “banging our head on the table”!!  This may seem like a simplistic explanation when you think about how we are all challenged by the varied suggestions of sin, but I think it's important not to be impressed with these kinds of suggestions which will always try to convince us that it's “complicated”; there are addictions, dissatisfaction, needs, and so on.  Might as well help kids see early on that these arguments are baseless trickery!

 [PYCL 2]
Since Halloween will be fresh on their minds, at least here in the states, you can do a mask exercise to illustrate how sins parade as our identity.  Bring or make some masks representing different sinful qualities.  Discuss how they are never attached to you, they are never the 'real' you.  You simply remove that mask and “ta-da”, you have the real you right there, as beautiful as ever.  This is true for all the types of hell that are introduced in this lesson.  It is as true for being a victim as it is for someone willfully doing the wrong thing, as it is for someone who is suffering from a suggestion of sickness.  You could simply make these masks from paper plates and string, using crayons or markers to decorate.  You can also bring this to bear on the idea of how we look at others.  If there is someone that seems to be difficult in their experience, they can mentally “remove” that mask from the other person and see them for who they truly are—the beloved of God.

 [PYCL 3]
Even the littlest ones have found themselves at times feeling really hurt or angry, even just grumpy.  How are we to deal with these 'sins'?  If you let our thought sit there and dwell on why you are feeling these things, isn't that a little like banging your head on the table over and over and wishing the pain would stop?  We have to stop those bad feelings ourselves (with Love's support of course!)  As we turn our thought to God, allowing Love to flow in, we can chase away those “hellish” thoughts and make room for Love to fill up the space they leave.  There is a good testimony attached to the back of this week's MyBibleLesson.  It's called “Hard wired for Love, not Anger.”  It was originally published in the June 16, 2014 Sentinel.  It has to do with a couple of siblings getting along.  Most of your kids probably have had some acrimonious dealings with siblings.  If they don't want to listen to you read the whole thing, you could easily retell it in shorter form.  I'm also reminded of the hymn that includes the words: “Make channels for the streams of Love…” (Hymn 182)  When we provide those open “channels” for Love's good to flow down we get much more joy and peace in our experience.

 [PYCL 4]
With that in mind, consider a stream demonstration.  You could bring a wash tub with water, a channel of some kind for water to run down, and a cup to pour water with.  The “channel” could be a section of one of those marble chute games if you have those, or a piece of PVC pipe which can be picked up at a home improvement store such as Home Depot or Lowes.  Have them see how the water goes down the tube or chute when it is clogged with stuff (you could use a chopped up sponge, or some sticks and leaves, whatever you think of).  Then, see what happens when you clear all the junk out of the way.  What is all that “junk” kind of like if we think of God's love being the water?  Does the water stop coming if we are “clogged” up with bad thinking?  Or does the bad thinking make it so we can't tell there is water available to us?  Let them have a turn clogging and cleaning the chute/pipe.  All the while you can talk about this idea.  Also you could tell them a Bible story about listening to good and what that does for us, vs. trying not to listen to God.  (Maybe Jonah? The whale certainly sounds like “hell” to me!)

 [PYCL 5]
That 2nd section, which includes the rape of Tamar, can be used without discussing the actual story.  While I think this is really important material for some of the older classes—considering that one out of every four women experiences some sort of sexual abuse in their life time—I don't see how it could be appropriately referenced at the early levels.  But it can be very useful as an illustration of how we can feel weak or seem to be victimized by another.  Bullying can happen at any age and is certainly relevant to little kids.  This section shares some great spiritual truths about how we can see our way clear of thinking of ourselves as weak or victimized. Talk about what makes us innocent and powerful.  Innocence is a property of God; it can't be removed/taken from us.  Our strength is not physical.  It is important also to address the fact that matter will certainly not support this view!  Citation S11 kind of mentions this.  So we don't need to dwell on injustice as a “fact”, rather, we make those channels clear, so that God's Love fills them full and we see that warmth, safety, strength and protection all around us.  Again the Bible offers us great examples of the preservation of innocence over brute power, both physical and political.  Daniel and the lion's den is a great example.

 [PYCL 6]
Finally, I think it's important to help kids understand that they have a role to play in arresting bad thoughts.   Citation S15 tells us that we have to “control evil thoughts in the first instance, or they will control [us] in the second.”  What does that mean?  Have they ever tried to stop feeling sad/angry, etc.?  Is it always easy?  What happens when we let those thoughts go on for a long time?  Does it seem even harder to get them “uprooted”?  (In fact, weeds are a great symbol here as the bigger they grow the deeper their roots and the harder they are to get rid of.  The logical extension being that if allowed to bloom and seed, they spread all over the place! Better to pull them up early-on, right?).

Have a wonderful Sunday!

 

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