When I think of what I love about church, many ideas, experiences, and adjectives come to mind. But what I have found ends up being one of the important things, is the Sunday School experience. Growing up, I attended a Christian Science Sunday School almost every week. I certainly learned many wonderful truths about God and His creation, but what I remember most is how I was treated by my teachers. They truly modeled what it was like to be seen as the child of God, to be treated with Love instead of strictly human authoritarianism.
I love that that same feeling permeates the Sunday School experience at the church where I currently am a member, at the First Church of Christ, Scientist, Creve Coeur, Missouri. My son is a preschooler, and to know that he is just as included and cared for as the college freshmen and sophomores is a wonderful feeling as a parent. There is a true sense of community and shared experience, and as we all know, it is such a strength – in any endeavor! – to know you are not alone. In everything from the beautiful, welcoming layout and decorations in each classroom and in the main area, to the thoughtful, intentional ways that teachers and superintendents include every grade level in participation and order, it is clear that treating the students as valued, loved, and needed has been the guiding principle. I know that my son is learning how loved he is, and how loved we all are, and a natural extension of that assurance is that anything unlovely – such as fear, sickness, or disobedience – cannot be a part of this perfect Love and its expression.
I am also a teacher in the Sunday School, in one of the three high school freshmen classes. While we are currently still all getting to know each other, and thus the conversations are not necessarily completely free-flowing, I believe we are well on our way to establishing a sense of trust and a deepening sense of engagement with making the most of our time together. While we have promised to keep everything confidential and so I won’t share any details, a theme that is emerging as we discuss is to look for ways that a deeper understanding of divine Love uplifts, shapes and informs our thoughts of ourselves and others. Christian Science teaches that it is Love that heals, so any greater awareness we have of Love’s presence and power is a light that the world needs.
I am very grateful for the care that the Christian Science Sunday School gives to students of any faith background, or no faith background. If a student (between ages 3 and 20) would like to attend but doesn’t have transportation, please leave a comment on this post and someone from the church will be glad to respond soon. Church is a family, and the Sunday School is a wonderful avenue for nurturing the innocence and growth of our global family.