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[PYCL—Stop missing the mark! Show why to never run a red light. Sow seeds. Clean glass. ]
CedarS PYCLs–Possible Younger Class Lessons for:

Everlasting Punishment
The Christian Science Bible Lesson for May 4, 2014

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

[PYCL 1] 
Most younger Sunday School students aren't really that aware of the idea that “hell” is a “place” where people are eternally punished for their sins.  Unless you have children that have been raised in another religion or tradition where this is a prominent thought, it may not be useful to bring this idea up on its own until they are a little older and will run into it as a more widely held belief.  But certainly we can talk about a lot of the ideas that are involved in this subject!  And you can bring up the subject as described above with any kids maybe 2nd grade and up, you be the judge of your class.

[PYCL 2] 
You can easily speak about the idea of doing the wrong thing, “missing the mark” (a definition of sin that is an archery term), and then how doing the wrong thing is “punished”.  Who does the punishing?  Does mom, or dad, or a teacher, or God?  Talk about how sin punishes itself, give examples from your life, see if they think of some of their own.  Why doesn't God “punish” us?  Is God a “big guy/gal” up there somewhere, keeping track of all we do?  Can you talk about a more spiritual definition of God?  Feel free to bring Mrs. Eddy's definition into the picture and talk about how divine Principle, for example, couldn't be keeping a “record book” of what we have done wrong.  Wouldn't Principle be more like a law of goodness that governs us?  Traffic laws can be a useful illustration of this idea.  If you run a red light and there is a car coming through the green light from another direction, you are likely to get hit by that car.  Did the traffic light/traffic laws “punish” you?  Or was it your lack of obedience to the law that brought that punishment?  Now, does God “punish” man when we break one of His laws?  Or are His laws always operating and governing us?  Our attempts at being disobedient to God bring us pain or unhappiness because we are trying to operate outside of the good that is our natural state of being, like running a red light!  You could make an “intersection” and hold up a red or green light.  Have the kids take turns running a red light and getting bumped by the person going through the green.  This will only work if you have a class that isn't too excitable, otherwise it will get out of hand.

[PYCL 3] 
All this talk of God as a law of good that is always working for man brings out the idea of Him being a “Rock” (B2).  You could bring in a small rock and talk about the qualities it represents.  It is solid, not destructible (yes I know that's not totally true but you can explain about the idea that it represents of lasting strength and firmness).  It is un-moveable when really large.  Think about the shade, the strength, the unchanging nature, the foundational qualities, dependability, and so on.  See if they can draw some conclusions about God that a rock represents to them.

[PYCL 4] 
Think about the sowing and reaping passage in citation B6.  Talk about planting seeds in a garden, or plant some in a cup at Sunday School.  Ask them what comes up and show them the seed package.  If you plant a zinnia seed will you get a pumpkin plant?  Then compare that to what we do in life, how we treat others, what we think about.  I really like the idea of bringing this to citation S10 and thinking about the body.  If we look to our body for good, for happiness, comfort, strength, we will always be limited at best and very disappointed at worst.  Where do we look for happiness, strength, etc.?  God and God's laws of love are the only things that bring lasting, dependable, joy and health! [“Only God can bring us gladness, Only God can give us peace. Hymn 263]

[PYCL 5] 
I think it would be fun to act out Nathan's parable in section 3 after you tell of David's story in section 2.  Have something fancy to wear for the “rich” man, or just big jewelry.  You could bring a sheet to wrap around the poor man, just so they feel like they are the “part”.  Bring a stuffed lamb or substitute of some sort for the ewe lamb that is special to the poor man and his family.  If there are many children they can either take turns or be part of the poor man's family and beg the rich man not to take their pet lamb!  You could also have a Nathan and a King David to start and finish off the story.

[PYCL 6] 
How do we show that we are sorry for something we've done wrong?  What does reformation mean?  Talk about changing our behavior after we've done something, or at least marching “…towards righteousness, peace, and purity…” (S17).  I think that the idea of taking those steps towards change and out of a wrong sense of self are important to understand.  Notice that Mrs. Eddy says “Sorrow for wrong-doing is but one step towards reform and the very easiest step.” S12)

[PYCL 7] 
One idea for the 4th section is to do a little exercise on “casting out fear” (S20).  What does casting out mean?  What does it mean to take “antagonistic grounds” against error?  You can make a sort of physical demonstration of “casting” something out, like a throwing motion.  What does antagonism look like when you are using it to get rid of anything that isn't like God?  Is it stubborn, untiring, relentless, joyful in its work?

[PYCL 8] 
Another thought may work with the older kids.  I've been thinking about an extension of the discussion on reform from earlier.  Reformation is an “interior” struggle, whereas pardon is a more public demonstration.  The scribes in section 4 were upset by Jesus' method of healing the palsied man because they wanted the man to make that public confession of his sins and bring a sacrifice to the temple for this/these sins.  Perhaps they weren't as concerned with the actual reformation of thought and life, as they were by the public form that it took.  This known, public process was maybe acknowledging the scribes' importance and their “role” in man’s forgiveness by God.  But Jesus kind of skipped over their role, recognizing that reform happens within our own consciousness, between man and God.  He even recognized that the scribes were thinking these critical thoughts in their own “hearts” (B15), and healed the man in opposition to their opinions on the matter.  I don't know if this is too “half-baked” to share, but it might be interesting to expand upon if you have further thoughts.

[PYCL 9] 
Not to be repetitive but I think that the parable of the king and the servants would be another good opportunity to do a dramatization.  Use a crown (paper is fine), and the sheet plus and extra for the two servants.  Try to explain the story so they understand it first, in your own words might work best.  Then you can talk about the Golden Rule.  You can also have them memorize the 6th tenant and talk about its relationship to the Golden Rule.

[PYCL 10]
One final thought.  Working with citation S30 where Mrs. Eddy quotes the “pure in heart” Beatitude, you can talk about how we see God and His reflected righteousness through our purity of heart, our pure clear view of God's creation.  You can compare this to seeing through a clear window. You can bring in a clear and a really dirty pane of glass or use a section of window in your church and bring some window crayon to make it smudgy and hard to see through. Compare a clear section and the smudgy section and talk about purity.  Also bring glass cleaner and paper towels and talk about purifying our vision and let them clean the glass!

Have a great Sunday.


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