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PYCLs: Help students feel the nearness and dearness of the kingdom Love within! (1)
Possible Younger Class Lesson (PYCL) Ideas for Sunday School
from the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on:

“Doctrine of Atonement”
for October 18, 2020

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

Pycl #1: [Help students feel the nearness and dearness of the kingdom Love within!]
I saw this useful definition of atonement recently "The process by which a person removes obstacles to his reconciliation with God." In traditional Christian theology this refers to the idea that Jesus died to solve the problems we humans have in our relationship with God. If your students are older you can share these definitions and see what they think. Are there "obstacles"? If so, what are they? If not, why do we often feel distance in our relationship with divine Love? Do we actually need to "do something" to make God love us or "forgive" us? Did Jesus' crucifixion cause God to "forgive all our sins"? If not, what was the point of his life, what did he teach us, why did he come to mankind? These are kind of big questions for the littler ones, so here are some ideas to think about with them:

How do we relate to God? Is God "out there" and we are "over here"? Where is God? Where are we in relation to God? (See citation B2 with excerpts from Ps. 139, read it together, maybe work on memorizing part of it.) You can try demonstrating this idea on screen if you are using the Zoom platform, by standing next to something and asking "is God next to you like the refrigerator is next to me"? If you are in person and keeping distance then use items, like walls, tables, etc. to demonstrate this idea. Or ask "Is God over there where you are, or is he only in your bedroom?"

What did Jesus tell us about where God is? Isn't He in the kingdom of heaven?
Where is that kingdom? Where did Jesus himself tell us to find this kingdom?
How did Jesus "relate" to God? How are we different? How are we the same?
When we do something that is disobedient, unkind, or something else that we know isn't right, does God's love for us change? Does God have an "opinion" of His creation? If God is the law of Love that surrounds us, and Love's kingdom is within us can this "law" change in some way to exclude us (how can that even happen when this good kingdom is within us)?

To think of it another way: If Love is compared to the laws of gravity (and you can demonstrate this by dropping something on the floor and explaining this force), does gravity "think differently" or "punish" you if you do something "wrong"?

Gravity operates at all times for us, for everyone. In a similar way, Love is always operating for everyone, but we want to clear away some obstacles to feeling this closeness with Love! A great passage to illustrate this is citation S20, p12:31

Pycl #2: Feel carried along in Love’s current, instead of swimming upstream by being unkind.
We listed some obstacles to feeling our closeness/oneness with Love. Are these actually obstacles like a chair that you set in front of you and you have to go around (demonstrate this!), or are they "thought" obstacles? Why are they thought obstacles? Because God/Love never looks at you as anything but loved. The obstacles make us feel bad because it is like swimming upstream in a river! Or maybe it is because we are trying to "float" everywhere, in opposition to gravity, and upset because we can't? How hard would it be if we swam against a current in a river? Wouldn't it be a lot of work?

Love is like a current that carries us along in goodness and harmony. This doesn't mean we don't have challenges, but that these challenges are solvable if we remind ourselves that we are in a current of Love and we need to feel that current, see that current, understand that current so that we can "change direction" and benefit from it! I hope this analogy sounds good to you, it feels like something that would open that door to how we are one with Love, always, but when we "face the wrong way" or try to live as if we are separate from Good (by lying, being unkind, etc.) then it is like this idea of "swimming upstream"! This means that we never have to change who we are in order to be one with Love, we only need to change our behavior and thinking!!

Pycl #3: Seek Love in all you do to find God right within you, no matter where you are!
I have loved thinking about the Golden Text this week. What does it mean, can you take it apart together? What do you think that it means by "heart"? I think it means how we love and feel about God and man. Why would our "heart" only live if we are seeking God?

In Mis. p. 388 Mary Baker Eddy has a poem entitled "Love". The children will know it as "Brood O'er Us", a hymn in our hymnal. In this poem she says: "Fed by Thy love divine we live, For Love alone is Life;". What does a "living" heart look like (how does it act!)? What does it mean to "seek God"? Can they tell you what it means to do this every day, all the time? Will we feel our closeness/oneness to God if we are thinking about "seeking" Love everywhere, in everything we do? How about going through the synonyms with this idea? What if we are seeking Truth in everything we do? Or seeking Mind? When we start to see Truth and Love etc. in all that we are doing, looking for this everywhere, then we start to realize that God is not "outside" us somewhere, but like Ps. 139, right within us, no matter where we are!

Pycl #4: Abandon a separate sense of self-importance that leads to unacceptable actions!
In Section 3 we have a story that you can retell to the children about King David and Nathaniel, his "in house" prophet. David did something that would not make him feel close to Love, or to Truth! Nathaniel pointed it out to David in a parable. Do they understand the parable? Have them retell it if you can. What was David's response when Nathaniel told him that he was "that man"? Do they think that David's quick recognition of his mistake made him change "direction in the river" more quickly?

What does this story tell us about the qualities we need to embody when we have done something that makes us feel like we are separate from God? There are many passages that tell us what we need to do to feel our oneness. There is one about "self-immolation" S21, one about motives, S15 p. 326:16-17, 20-21 (what were David's motives when he stole Bathsheba?), but one that is fun to think about daily might be citation S3: "What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds." That humility and meekness get rid of a separate sense of "I" that is so very helpful in feeling our oneness. And you can discuss the fact that it was that separate sense of self-importance that made David think that as king, he had the right to do things that were not acceptable!

Pycl #5: Use a Hula hoop to illustrate how everything is within a universal circle of Love.
One thing about oneness is that it is also "allness". There is no other place we can be but one with God. It just seems like we are separate sometimes! Check out citation S1, SH p.267:5-6. "God is one. The allness of Deity is His oneness."

I have been thinking about how to illustrate this. You could talk about the universe…nothing outside of it…and then use a Hula hoop or a circle to illustrate how everything is within that circle of Love. Nothing can actually live outside of this circle of Love, in fact there is no place "outside" this circle. You can have the children that are youngest illustrate this circle by holding up their arms in the shape of a circle to represent this. There is no existence or being outside of divine Love.

Pycl #6: Use a straw and clear glass of water to illustrate the oneness of a drop and the water. (Or an eyedropper if you have one would show this well.) Read the last citation in Science and Health (S27) together alongside this illustration. "As a drop of water is one with the ocean…even so God and man, Father and son, are one in being." (SH 361:16)

Have a great week in Sunday School!

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