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[PYCL: Stop Jonah-like stubborn anger. (3) Use yarn to teach unsnarling (of bad habits) with patience & joy. (4)]
Possible Younger Class Lessons for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

”Everlasting Punishment”
for May 6, 2018

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

Pycl #1: Discuss everything we know about God. How is he defined (how do the pupils define God, how is God defined in citation S2)? Is there anything about these definitions that allow room for something like "everlasting punishment"? Make a list of all the qualities of God as well as the synonyms—see citations B4 and B5. How does our definition of God affect our definition of man?

Pycl #2: Thinking of our definition above, what would be included in the kingdom of God? Look at citation S3 for what Mrs. Eddy calls "the atmosphere of Spirit". This sounds a lot like the kingdom of God. She tells us nothing false or sinful can enter this atmosphere. Compare to a room full of light. Can you open a door to a dark room and let the dark "into" the light room?

If you have a way to illustrate this in church with a closet or something it could be useful. Likewise, when you open a dark space to a light room, doesn't the light actually move in and displace the dark? This is like sin and how it cannot be part of God's kingdom, or part of God's creation. As we turn toward the light that is God, we find the darkness or sin destroyed.

Pycl #3: The story of Jonah illustrates for us this week how disobedience leads to a stormy and difficult time. You are welcome to share this story as an allegorical one; most scholars agree that it is a satirical take on prophets. But it isn't terribly important to distinguish for young children unless they want to know if being swallowed by a fish and vomited up three days later is actually possible. Think about the way Jonah was called on to deliver a message, and then how he ran the other way.

Are there things that we are called on to do that we literally or figuratively "run the other way" from? Maybe it is as simple as chores that we are asked to do, maybe it is being kind to someone we don't feel is kind to us, maybe it comes in the form of feeling stubbornly angry and unforgiving. In each of these cases we, like Jonah, are called upon by divine Love to be a message bearer of truth and reformation, whether to ourselves or another. Sometimes it does involve confronting someone about something they are doing and supporting them toward a renewed sense of who they are, as Jonah was asked to do for the Assyrians.

Do go through the background here, explaining that the Assyrians had been enemies of the Jews forever, and this is very much why Jonah would have not wanted to deliver any message to them that would possibly deliver them from what he felt would be righteous and justified divine punishment.

Pycl #4: In citation S16 Mrs. Eddy compares reformation and progress to untangling snarls. Consider bringing in a tangle of yarn for the children to make into a ball. What happens if they get frustrated and try to pull at it? It only gets tighter right? What if they cut it? Then you have ruined the wholeness of the ball of yarn. There are no "shortcuts"; it takes patience and joy. Like she tells us in citation S18, the qualities of "gladness" and "joy" express the right disposition that best promotes harmony.

If we are feeling shame and hopelessness we are not likely to find ourselves moving forward. How is untangling the snarl of yarn similar to progressing in our desire to follow the right path? Can we work to drop bad habits (or something like that) this week? How will we go about it? How is God helping us in this "unsnarling" process?

Pycl #5: Jesus tells the man in citation B17 that his sins are forgiven. Are we sinning if we are sick? Why did Jesus tell him this? (We may not know, he must have perceived something that this man needed to know, but one "sin" we can always work to untangle, is the sin of thinking that we are mortals subject to illness, etc.) We can always better embrace the truth that we are sinless, whole and innocent.

Do we make the scribe's mistake of judging others for their sickness or their situation in life? Isn't that like thinking people "deserve what they get"? What happens if we follow that thought to its logical conclusion? If we look at material sense we start to think then, that sick people are at fault for being sick, poor people for being poor and to flip that over, healthy people are more righteous as are the wealthy. Of course we know this isn't true, but it can creep into thought if we are not vigilant.

Pycl #6: Just want to add a cool fact that you may not get unless you read this week's CedarS Met. If you wish to discuss the story of Zacchaeus in the last section, giving the background of why a tax-collector would have been considered "unclean"; it is fun to know that his name is a Greek version of a common Hebrew name that translates as "innocent" or "clean". Isn't this like our true nature, no matter what the mortal senses tell us? We are all identified this way and can identify ourselves that way like Zacchaeus does!

Have a great week in Sunday School!

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