Thank you for your loving support this Giving Tuesday!

PYCLs:  GIVE EVERLASTING GRACE TO THOSE WHO DON’T APPEAR TO “DESERVE” IT.  (1)
“BUILD” YOUR OWN INNER “ARK” OF SAFETY FROM THE TEMPTATIONS OF MATTER. (2) BRING IN A BIG PLASTIC DISH TUB (3) MAKE YOUR SEARCH FOR SPIRITUAL GOOD PRACTICAL, NOT ABSTRACT! (4)
Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“[N]EVERLASTING PUNISHMENT”
for Sunday, October 30, 2022

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


PYCL#1: DO A WORD SEARCH WITH CONCORD ONLINE.

This is pretty fun. Check out how “everlasting” is used in the Bible. How many references to bad things, how many to good? You will find that there are about six references to bad things, and over 90 to good. This correlates well with how we need to be aware of error, (can’t ignore it) but not focused on it, if we want to see the truth.

Now look through this lesson for references to everlasting and see how many refer to everlasting mercy, life, and so on.
What is mercy exactly? Isn’t this the opposite of what happens to all the people besides Noah in the story, included in this Bible lesson, of Noah and the ark? (
Mercy forgives, gives grace to those who don’t appear to “deserve” it.


PYCL #2: BUILD OUR OWN “ARKS”.

This is a beloved story for young children—probably because of the animals. It is more than a cool children’s story though. As adults we worry about the idea of a God who would condemn an entire population to death by drowning.
I see it as a story of obedience to God and the individual building of our interior “arks” of safety.
We all have the kingdom of God within us. We are all being called upon to “build” our own “arks” of safety from the temptations of matter. These temptations can range beyond the typical “sex, drugs, and alcohol” kinds of temptations. Think instead of the everyday challenges that we are being constantly called upon to overcome…frustration, anxiety, temper, depression, fear, greed, and so on. As we succeed in our building projects we are given that bright, rainbow promise, of joy, satisfaction, peace. It doesn’t mean that everything will go materially perfect, but we will face challenges with poise, intelligence and inspiration, and find healing!

So, how do we build this kind of ark? Talk to the children and get their ideas.
If we engage, for example in a regular practice of gratitude, is this our “planking”?
Are the nails/screws our steadfast persistence in the face of fear or doubt?
What are we using for caulking/pitch? How about a finish on the wood? (if you have supplies, consider bringing some nails, wood, a tube of caulk, etc. to pull out as illustrations)
What kinds of food are we bringing along?
Are we bringing inspired thought, wisdom, generosity, kindness?
What do the paired animals of all species indicate? Our wholeness! The completeness and eternity of God’s creation. This is all within us! You can relate this to young ones, who may not fully understand this kind of symbolism but would get a laugh at the idea of an elephant or giraffe within them.

With younger children see if you can build something with blocks or a felt board—maybe a collaborative drawing—where you name the qualities that each block or piece you draw etc. as you build together. Maybe you have one of those children’s ark toys. If that’s the case this can take up residence in your Sunday School classroom and you can weekly revisit these “inside” arks that each of you is building. What does your elephant represent? Maybe spiritual power, strength. Maybe the mouse represents spiritual quickness, resourcefulness. You get the idea!


PYCL #3: BRING IN A BIG PLASTIC DISH TUB FOR WATER AND TOY BOATS.

This probably could be an extension of our second PYCL, but I didn’t want it to get too long. With a big tub of water and some boats or boat-like objects we can illustrate the idea of floating “above” sin (behaviors and thoughts that are not Godlike).
You can use the water and boat as a wonderful illustration of how God really holds us up above these temptations when we express obedience to good. Obedience makes us “float”, gives us joy and strength to face whatever is tempting us to move away from God. (You can’t really do this but it sometimes feels like it!).
Again, you can bring up the qualities that keep us safe, our “boats” watertight/free from material limitations of sin that weigh us down. You might talk about the very useful definition of sin as: whatever makes us feel we are separate from God/Good.
Such a supposed separation is a great analogy to use with boats and water. Consider being separate, floating around without your boat. You’d get tired of constantly swimming at the very least!
Whereas in your “boat” you are lifted, rested, and can move endlessly across the surface of “error”, without sinking down into it.
[W. Consider sharing one of my favorite ideas that “The only effect that the flood had on the ark was to elevate it.” This is always true unless you open the door (of your inner ark0 to the flood of negative views and news.]


PYCL #4: ARE SPIRITUAL THINGS “OBSCURE, ABSTRACT, DARK”? (cit. S24/558:9-16)

One thing that keeps us from venturing out into the things of Spirit is that material things and material life seem so present, so practically “real”, and, often, pretty pleasant.
Why should we look farther than what is presented to us in material life?
If things really are pretty consistently great, there may not be a pressing need. But most of us feel the need for more than what matter presents, at some point.

Here’s the thing, it is “to mortal sense” that spiritual things seem “obscure etc.”.
When we use spiritual discernment we notice the brilliance, joy, gratitude, interest, liveliness and so on of life. We feel more of life’s flavor and joy.
I think the only way to share this idea is through your own examples of overcoming the challenging limitations that living on the material surface has presented to you. Have several examples that are relevant to this subject.
How has just plain obedience to what you know God wants of you brought you happiness and healing?
This really must be a practical thing, or it truly will ring “obscure, abstract, and dark”…
Think back to Noah again. The demand by God to “build an ark” certainly must have seemed obscure to him, and it did to others.
Are there things that we are being called on to do today that seem, on the surface, to be unnecessary–but are God-impelled?
Let’s look for opportunities to make our search for God—for spiritual good—practical and not abstract!

Have a great week in Sunday School!

 

 

 

 

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