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PYCLs — What is everlasting? Bring a bowl of M&Ms…  Doing wrong is like swimming against a strong current.  Sunshine in a cave. “Sacrifice” gossip…
Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

for Sunday, April 30, 2023

by Kerry Jenkins, CS, of House Springs, MO • 314-406-0041

PYCL #1: What is everlasting?

For slightly older kids: While this lesson is titled “Everlasting punishment”, it is always made abundantly clear that this is not something God bestows on His creation. The only punishment we receive is what comes to us when we continue to sin (behave in a way that appears to separate us from Spirit/Good). In other words, punishment does not come from God, it comes from engaging in sin itself. Sin punishes itself.

In contrast to the title, what we are most left with in both this lesson and in the entire Bible, is “everlasting mercy”, which does come from Spirit or Good. So it is not punishment, but mercy that is everlasting.
What does this mean for us in daily life? I think it means that we are always presented with the opportunity to grow in our understanding of Love and the infinite scope of Love’s mercy and forgiveness. This, of course, doesn’t extend to being free to “sin and be sorry” on a continuous cycle, but to daily work to leave behind any thoughts or habits that would seem to separate us from feeling at one with divine Love.

PYCL #2: Does divine Love tempt us or create us able to do the wrong thing?

This question is answered in a couple of places in the Bible lesson, maybe most notably in citations S3/356:25-5 2nd Does; S4/539:10-13; S12/230:11-12; S14/356:19.

Bring in a bowl of something that all the children love to eat, maybe a small dish of M&M’s or something like that. Set it on the table and then explain that they cannot have any of it. If you don’t want to do this, you can describe it as an experiment and ask each to choose something that they really love to eat and which, if you put it out for the taking, it would be hard to resist. Have them imagine it to be sitting on the table. Now explain that it would be pretty unkind if we were to look at such a bowl on our desk at school, or table at home all day and then never be allowed to eat any of it. This would be the story of creation if we were to believe that God punishes sins or wrongdoing. It would mean that God makes things that tempt us, knowing that we would be tempted, and then punishes us for falling prey to that temptation! Instead, Love expresses man as loving, joyful, obedient, inspired and holy. The false picture that tells us we want to do things that are not in our best interest does not come from God, and Love would never put us in that position.

The minute we resist the suggestion that we are nothing more than little mortal minds running around trying to avoid “bad”, is the minute we find freedom. It may not be a one time thing, but it certainly provides freedom when we exercise this God-given dominion! Now let them have some of whatever you brought in 🙂

PYCL #3: Why does it seem hard, sometimes, to do the right thing?

There are a lot of passages in this lesson that talk about how God is working “with” us to help us do right. (citations B1/Jer 31:3, B2/Jer 32:15,38-40,41; B9/James 3:17; B11/Ps40:11, and many more. This made me wonder why it seems hard sometimes to continuously do the highest right.

An example: The image that came to me to illustrate this is that of a strong current in a river. If Love is that current, any time we try to go against Love, it is like swimming upstream against that current. We end up either going backwards or just staying in one spot!
I’ve tried it in a couple of rivers that had nice swimming areas and it really is hard work and there is no progress if the current is strong!
We can think of any desires we have that go against Love’s laws, are much like trying to oppose that current. Is the current “punishing” the swimmer for swimming upstream? No!
In the same way, when we harness the energy of Love and enjoy the good that Love is always offering, it’s like hopping in a great innertube and floating downstream!

PYCL #4: Sunshine in a cave.

God doesn’t know error, can’t “see” it, because God only made goodness. cit. B3/Hab 1:13). A fun way to explain this idea is the story of the cave explaining to the sun the beauty and complete darkness within its depths . The cave invites the sun to come and see. The sun decides she will go into the cave to check out this darkness that she has heard about. As soon as she “walks” into the cave her light fills every nook and cranny! She can’t see darkness anywhere!
In the same way, God or Love makes only lovely, good, whole ideas. Everywhere that Love is, and Love is omnipresent, there is love, kindness, gentleness, patience, etc. This is the evidence that Love is omnipresent. How can something that is all-Love see or create anything less than loving?

PYCL #5: What are we supposed to “sacrifice”?

One of the things about punishment, sin, and mercy, is the theological idea that we can bring something “to” God, a sacrifice, to “make up” for our wrong doing. This is something that Jesus spoke against. He instead emphasized that God is filled with mercy for man when we wake up to our innocence and claim it. In other words, when we stop doing the thing that we know makes us less happy, we see more of our true nature, like taking off a big sheet that covers us up and hides us from being seen.

Activity: Bring a sheet to use as an illustration of this with little ones.
Drop it over a willing child’s head. Talk about how we can’t really see what that person looks like under the sheet. In the same way, we might not be able to see someone’s true nature if we are looking at matter or their material actions and words. We might need to “uncover” the true idea that is under that “sheet”! Then you can pull it off with a flourish!

So, what are we meant to sacrifice, since we don’t do like they often did in Old Testament days, bring an animal to the altar of the temple as a gift to God? We are meant to sacrifice the things that make us feel separate from God, or Love, or Truth.
So maybe we “sacrifice” gossip, or telling half truths, or being disobedient, or argumentative, grumpy, and so on…
These sacrifices reveal more and more of our true, Godlike nature.

One cool Bible verse to go with this idea is found in citation B7/Ps. 26:6 “I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O Lord:” The altar is where we would bring our “gift” of gratitude, love, etc. to God. We can do this when we feel our true innocence that is always intact.
We can “compass” or reach and embrace this place of gratitude when we approach with innocence rather than a false sense of mortal guilt or error.
This innocence is how we are made, nothing we do or that is done to us, can change the spiritual fact of this always intact innocence.

Have fun in Sunday School this week!









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