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5 PYCLs: 1) MAKE A CLASS BUILDING PROJECT! 2) A SECOND BUILDING PROJECT. 3) WAYS TO ILLUSTRATE ONENESS. 4) TAKE A “BOAT RIDE”. 5) ATONEMENT.
Possible Younger Class Lesson ideas for the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on

“DOCTRINE OF ATONEMENT”
for Sunday, October 16, 2022

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


PYCL #1: MAKE CLASS A BUILDING PROJECT!

The Responsive Reading from the English Standard version of the Bible has some fabulous material for our hour together. (Isa 29: 19, 24 and Eph. 2:13-22 now). Not only does it emphasize the way we are all one “building”, but the very beginning from Isaiah tells us that the meek and the poor all will “exult together in the Lord”, come together in joy—those that go “astray”, think they are separate from good, will “come to understanding”, and those that “murmur” (resist? argue? are self-righteous?) will “accept instruction”—they will not separate themselves and go their “own” way. The crux of all of this is the mission of Christ Jesus to show us our oneness not only with God, but with one another!

I think this building project can be adjusted to almost any Sunday-School-age class. Bring in blocks if you can find some. If not, you can use the images we are creating to pretty good effect. Have the kids blindfold themselves and try to build their own separate buildings anywhere in the class…just a simple structure–it could be four blocks. Now, have a large sheet of paper, maybe a roll of butcher paper that you tape to the table with a very perfect square or rectangle drawn on it, using a straight edge. Talk about cornerstones.

A cornerstone is the first foundation stone that would be laid. All the other foundation stones use it as a reference, so it must be level/plumb, straight, and so on. This stone determines the position of the entire structure. If the structure is one in a row of others, it determines whether the structure is lined up with the others, etc.

Now, have them lay their blocks together. First, put one in a corner of your outline. Make a fuss of getting it “perfect”. Now put the others in line with it and get to building. Discuss how this building compares to the individual ones. Is it potentially more “useful”, stronger, more “lasting”(if it were a real one).
How is this symbolic of our alignment with Christ as the “cornerstone” in our lives?


PYCL #2: A SECOND BUILDING PROJECT.

Give each student one block and tell them this is “theirs”. They can go “build” their own place/castle/house with that block, it belongs to them. Have them place these blocks randomly all over the classroom space. Are they helpful this way? Are they useful? This is a wonderful metaphor for oneness. One of the statements in our Responsive Reading is that we are “…being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”

And there is a passage in the Bible from Luke 20:17 “…the stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner.”
Talk about how Jesus refers to himself as the “cornerstone”. What does that mean?
The Christ spirit, the healing activity, the love, the compassion and so on are the cornerstone of what we are here to do, everything else is referenced off of him.

If we live in that way, we find ourselves feeling at one with God, we find ourselves happier, healthier, more inspired. When we try to “build” our lives separately from Christ (reject that singular reference point/cornerstone), from the cornerstone qualities that he embodied and taught, we are like these random building blocks scattered around our Sunday School space…pretty useless! But (and now we can bring them together once again), if we bring these blocks together, as they are meant to be “used” (as we are meant to be useful ourselves!) we can build a pretty magnificent building (society/community/family/church).

Living our lives in little separate spaces we have no walls, no roof, no foundation. We are just separate little seeming identities trying to make our way in the human world. But we have strength, shelter, safety, community and so on when we put these “blocks” together. For the older children this is so foundational, if you will forgive the pun. There is a tendency to think that we can go off and create our lives without reference to any guiding good. Even as “good” people, this is fraught with difficulty because there are so many ways that our best human intentions can go off track.

Discuss how/whether/in what way our lives can be different when built on a spiritual reference to the qualities and principles of Christ (with older children).


PYCL #3: WAYS TO ILLUSTRATE ONENESS.

In the past we have illustrated the oneness idea with “…a drop of water is one with the ocean…” by bringing in a cup of water and a straw or eyedropper. Hold up the drop of water from the end of the straw and then let your finger off the top so it falls back into the cup.

This straw-as-eyedropper demonstration is one fun way to illustrate the idea of how we can be individual, but also one with God. Let the children try it. Some passages that speak to this are: citation S7/202:3; cit. B10/Rom 8:38,39; cit. S24/361:16 plus beautiful Hymn #524 by Mindy Jostyn.

Are there other ways to illustrate this idea of oneness that we can do in Sunday School?
You could certainly think of some ideas together. Can an apple grow without a tree?
Would we know that the sun existed if the rays that it produces didn’t reach us on earth?
I can’t think of any other little “experiments” to illustrate this idea just now, but if you think of them feel free to let me know for future reference!


PYCL #4: TAKE A “BOAT RIDE”.

We probably can’t really do this, at least not during Sunday School, but another way to portray our unity with good is as a boat on a river, or an inner tube ride down a river. You are not water, of course, but you are floating along with it, you can swim in it as it carries you along. When you try to swim against its current, it offers a good deal of resistance— depending on the speed of current.

You can draw a parallel that when you are being at one with Love by expressing kindness, patience, generosity, and so on, it is like being carried along on a current of joy and inspiration. When we are not expressing those qualities, but ones of resentment, anger, and so on, it’s like swimming against a current. Nothing you do feels light or inspired. Riding with the current is another kind of “oneness” with man and with God.


PYCL #5: ATONEMENT.

You may want to touch on the subject of this week’s lesson! What is atonement?
What does the story of Zacchaeus in our Section 2 this week (cit. B7/Luke 19) have to do with this idea?

There is much talk of sin and redemption surrounding atonement.
We also have Jesus’ story of the lost sheep and how the shepherd will go find it & rejoice when he does.

Why is sin central to the lessons we learn about atonement?
Because the most useful definitions of sin really involve feeling as if we are separate from God.
This can be felt in a number of ways. We may feel actually guilty about something that we did that we know we were not supposed to do.
Or, maybe we are angry at someone, maybe we just shared something unkind about someone.
All these examples and many more can make us feel as if we are separate from God, from Love, or intelligence, or safety.

These are examples of sin that go beyond the typical way we tend to think of it!
Atonement, oneness, rethinking, practicing Jesus’ works, these are ways that we tend to find what is always there— our unity with the divine.

 Have a wonderful week in Sunday School.

 

 

 

 

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