The third book of Vicki Jones Cole’s trilogy on the “first lessons” taught to Christian Science Sunday School students focuses on the Lord’s Prayer. There are over 100 daily lessons suitable for a wide range of ages, with two very simple lessons on each line of the Lord’s Prayer aimed at preschoolers.
This volume on the Lord’s Prayer contains additional background material to aid parents and teachers in understanding the Lord’s Prayer overall, before getting to the lessons on the individual lines. The titles of the sections are:
The Structure of the Lord’s Prayer
“Debts” versus “Trespasses”
The Spiritual Interpretation
Ideas for Exploring the Lord’s Prayer
Here is an example of the one of lessons for very young children, which comes in two parts – the original line and then the spiritual interpretation as given by Mary Baker Eddy (this does not reflect the format and font found in the actual book):
“Our Father which art in heaven,”
Jesus taught us to pray that God is the heavenly Father of all. He is the Maker of heaven and earth and everything. What is heaven? It is God’s kingdom where His children live. Everyone is included in God’s family, even those of us who are on earth. We are all brothers and sisters. We are all taken care of by God, just as our earthly parents take care of us when we are young. But we never grow too old for God to take care of us! He is always our heavenly Father. He will never leave us.
“Our Father-Mother God, all harmonious,”
God is not just our Father. God is also our heavenly Mother, who loves us tenderly, and watches over us. Because God is the Father-Mother of us all, He makes sure that everything is good, and that everyone has all they need. No one needs to fight over who is loved the most, or worry about bad things happening. When things go well, that is called “harmony.” Because there is always harmony in God’s heaven, we say that God is “all harmonious.” We feel loved and safe when we remember God is Father-Mother, and that His heavenly kingdom is all around us. God has created a wonderful, spiritual universe for everyone to enjoy. When we pray, we must thank Him for all that He has made and for taking care of us. We might say each day: “Good morning, God. Thank you for being our Father-Mother!”
Here is an example of a Question-and-Answer for an older child on the first line of the Lord’s Prayer:
Our Father which art in heaven,
Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious
Question: Who is “our Father”?
Answer: God, the Supreme Being, is our Father. We learn this from the Bible. In the Old Testament, God was called the Father of the nation, Israel: “Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my firstborn.” (Ex. 4:22)
“Blessed be thou, Lord God of Israel our father, for ever and ever.” (I Chron. 29:10)
Many years later, Christ Jesus came to show mankind that God was the Father of each and every one of us, not just the nation of Israel. He also explained to us that God is our only true parent. He said: “Call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.” (Matt. 23:9)
In the “Glossary” of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy gives us a definition of the term father, as used in the Bible. It reads: “Eternal Life; the one Mind; the divine Principle, commonly called God.” (S&H 586:9-10) So we see that God is also called “Father,” because He is 1) the source of all Life; 2) the one and only Mind that creates; and 3) the Principle that governs all.
What about our earthly parents? We know from the Ten Commandments that we are to honor our fathers and mothers. They are our special caretakers when we are young. But Jesus came to teach us that we are more than what we seem to be. We are not mortals, created materially. We are, instead, the perfect spiritual offspring of a perfect heavenly Creator.
Each line of the Lord’s Prayer has similar introductory material, and follows with a variety of other questions suitable for various ages. For example, here are the rest of the Questions relating to the first line of the Lord’s Prayer:
What does it mean that God is our Creator?
Did the Hebrew people of the Bible believe that God was their Creator?
What did Jesus teach about the Fatherhood of God?
If God made everything, did He also create evil?
What does it mean that man is an idea of God?
If the Bible calls God our “Father,” why does Science and Health call God our “Father-Mother”?
How does God show us that He is our Father-Mother?
If God, our Father-Mother, is perfect, is man also perfect?
Does man ever become separated from his Father-Mother God?
Did the Apostle Paul and the disciples of Jesus, believe and teach that God is our Father?
Does Christian Science teach that God is our Maker and Creator?
Why is it important to know there is only one Creator?
If God is “Our Father,” does that mean we are all part of one really big family?
Did God create Himself?
If our Father is “in heaven” how could He be the Parent of those of us on earth?
What is man’s true nature as a child of God?
How do we see ourselves and others as God’s spiritual children, when we seem to be surrounded by mortals and a material world?