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[PYCL: Know that God never punishes you to start to feel the warm embrace of God's love! (2)
"making deals" with God…Consider a stop light…Rethink “the gospel of prosperity… (5)]

Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Bible Lesson on

“Everlasting Punishment”
for November 3, 2019

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

Pycl #1: With this subject it might be useful to chat about what the children think of God—how do they describe God? Perhaps it is like a Father-Mother to them, or, as we have spoken of often, as a law that embraces them in love, and intelligence, and joy.

Once you have decided together about the nature of God, ask them if they have ever been scolded by their mom or dad. Obviously, the answer is yes, and perhaps punished, though it would be great if the answer was something more along the line of "disciplined" which is more like "taught". I wouldn't dwell on this part too much, but the point to ask might be, "If you got in trouble with mom and dad for something you did, would they ever be so mad that they wouldn't love you anymore, that they would "punish" you forever? Surely not! God, who has loved you always, only knows you for who you truly are, the lovely, perfect, reflection of Her being. She always has, always will, love you completely. It seems to me that this is a good place to start with this subject! In this way you can kind of connect this lesson with "Adam and Fallen Man" by looking at the Golden Text together and thinking about what it says about how God treats His creation.

You could illustrate this idea with a big fuzzy blanket. Wrap it around a student and ask if the blanket would ever "punish" her? This is a little silly, since God is not an inanimate blanket, but you can explain that the blanket might represent infinite Love that only wraps you in Love and never deprives you of Love, any more than the blanket would "deprive" you of warmth.

Pycl #2: It is helpful to discuss the fact that actually God never punishes His creation at all. Any "punishment" we feel, is just the result of forgetting how it is that we relate to God, how we are one with God, how we are guided by Love/Mind to do what is right and wise and good. So, when we have an "accident", we can correct this notion by considering the fact that we are always in accord with Mind, or Life, expressing intelligence and grace in our actions. Because our bodies are expressing our consciousness of God/Good, we can watch as we hold our completeness in thought and see it manifest. This is healing. You can walk them through this process.

Once we know, become certain, that God is not the source of evil—never punishes us—we can start to feel the warm embrace of God's love for us. This is how we feel towards our mom and dad too! They are the best way for us to understand the love of God when we are young.

Pycl #3: Back when I wrote the metaphysical for this subject on the CedarS website the last time we had it, I did a little research on how many times the word everlasting is used in the Bible. I don't remember the exact figures, but it was something like 96 times, of which ultimately 4, referred to everlasting punishment of some kind. The rest were everlasting love, remembrance, kindness and so on. This should help us to understand that the subject of punishment (fire, etc.) really is not the overwhelming presence in the Bible that many would like to believe, any more than our parents would spend more time on punishment than on kindness with their children!!

Pycl #4: Take some time to explore how the first Commandment corrects the misconception that God would punish. Why does it "demonstrate Christian Science", why is it Mary Baker Eddy's "favorite text". (S7, 340:15) See if they have some of their own thoughts about this. Do you have some of your own to get the ball rolling?

Think about how, if we have only one God, and a proper definition of that God, then we have no false sense of anyone around us, or of ourselves. Would we ever have a fight? Would we be afraid to share what we have (thinking we'd run out)? Why would this Commandment, obeyed, make it so there is "nothing that can be…punished or destroyed."?

Pycl #5: We can't pass up the opportunity to read the story of Saul and Jonathan in Section 3, because it is not commonly included in our Bible lessons. Why is it there? Isn't it to reveal that the only kind of punishment that is meted out really stems from a false, superstitious, view of God?

Would God make a deal with his creation, requiring his children to fast when they are fighting a battle, and then punishing someone who didn't know that they were supposed to fast? Of course not! Let's not "make deals" with God, that is a false view of God as a person, rather than Love! Do they know what superstition is? You can have some fun discussing this, then see if they have any thoughts about God that might be "superstitious". For example, if they are disobedient, do they think that they are undeserving of Love's love—of healing? This is not how a law operates.

Consider a stop light. It lawfully governs and protects everyone that drives through it, it doesn't decide if they "deserve" to be protected or not. This might be a good way to think about how Love takes care of us.

Another section that might be useful to add in discussing these ideas is Section 6, where Jesus explains that you cannot assume that just because bad things happen to someone, that they are especially bad people! We want to help the students understand this early in their studies of Christian Science, because it seems a common misconception that if we "pray right", we won't get sick/have mishaps/lack money, and so on. This "gospel of prosperity" is a misconception of the consistent love and care that God gives Her children.

Have a great week in Sunday School!!!

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