Understanding the Ten Commandments is crucial to the practice of Christian Science. That is why they are included in the foundational lessons of the Sunday School pupils. I believe they should also be a continual part of the study and daily practice of all students of Christian Science, no matter their age or experience.
Most of my research and study of the Ten Commandments is summarized in my manual First Lessons in Christian Science, Volume One: The Ten Commandments. That book is for parents to share with their children, and includes 120 ready-made daily lessons for them to read and use together.
The following is supplemental information to help with teaching your children or Sunday School pupils, that appeared on my web site supporting my books on the First Lessons when they were first published:
INTRODUCING THE COMMANDMENTS TO LITTLE CHILDREN:
If you’re just starting to teach the Bible to your own very young children, make sure they first understand the concept of God. Before starting to teach the Ten Commandments separately, the children should be told the story of Moses and the Exodus of the Children of Israel. Also, you need to make sure the children understand the concept of rules and commands, and why they are useful to us.
To teach them about Moses, I recommend getting a good children’s Bible story book. You can also try telling the story of Moses in your own words directly from the Bible. To introduce a discussion of Moses, you might ask your child if they know the story of the day they were born. (Hopefully it is a sweet story). After discussing the events surrounding their first meeting with their earthly family, and you have their attention, you can tell them about a baby named Moses, who had a very exciting adventure floating down a river after he was born. He was found by an Egyptian princess and raised in the royal household! If they are ready to listen, go back and tell them about the sad times in Egypt for the Hebrew people, and why it was important for God to send someone special to help them escape from the terrible situation they were in. That morally courageous person was Moses. He represents the same moral courage that we all need in order to escape the bondage of sin. Then, when they understand how important Moses was, go back and tell the story in detail, perhaps using the Bible storybook.
Now, it may take a few days worth of story telling to get to the part where Moses receives the Ten Commandments. But I feel it is important that they relate Moses to the Ten Commandments, and see the courage and bravery he needed in order to obey God, the Great I Am. They need to see the special relationship Moses had with God.
The children’s movie, The Prince of Egypt tells the story of Moses in the form of an animated musical. It stops after the Red Sea event, but does have a quick epilogue showing Moses coming down a mountain with the stone tablets. If your kids watch this to learn the story of Moses, you will need to explain to them that the movie makers add things to the film that did not actually happen in real life. But the movie will give the kids a flavor of the times, the locale, and the basic events and situation of Mose’s life.
Before delving into the actual Ten Commandments, go over the concept of rules with your children, and why they are important in society. If they have a favorite game, have fun for a while discussing what might happen if everybody changed the rules and no one was playing with the same rules. Chaos! Unhappiness. Frustration. Or, ask them what would happen if one person in the game did not want to obey the rules, or cheated. How would that make the others feel? Is it fair? Does it bring true happiness to the one who cheated to win?
You can also take the child to a place where you can observe an intersection of roads for a while, one which has either stop signs or a traffic signal. Discuss why the signs are there, and what might happen if one or more of the signs were removed; what might happen if someone ignored or did not see the signs? Explain that the signs can keep everyone safe, if obeyed. They keep the cars from running into each other, and give everyone a fair chance at moving through the intersection. The traffic signals are a form of love, and we should be grateful for their presence. Disobeying or ignoring traffic signals is a form of selfishness and ingratitude, and can be harmful.
When you are sure your children understand the reasons for rules, you can talk to them about God’s rules and commands. Although the Ten Commandments were given to the Hebrews thousands of years ago, they are still useful to us today. Many of these Commandments are the basis of some of the laws of our land, such as the laws against stealing and killing, and telling lies about others. But, because the Commandments are from God, they also have a spiritual meaning that can help us in our spiritual and moral growth.
The lessons on the Ten Commandments should not be a one-time event. We need to remind our children as often as we can, that these rules were given to us by God to keep us from harm, until we have awakened to our true spiritual nature. The “Devil,” or the false beliefs of mortal mind which hate the Christ, Truth, would want us to go to sleep and forget the rules of God. We must stay awake and not let ourselves be mesmerized by the evil beliefs which would tempt us to break the Ten Commandments. Our job is to glorify God on earth, or rather, to let God shine through us, and prove that He is all-powerful. He is our Father-Mother, and we honor Him by being obedient.
The essay, “Becoming a Living Monument to the Ten Commandments,” is something I prepared in response to current events (Fall 2003), and includes summaries of ways to practice each of the Commandments.
WHAT MRS. EDDY WRITES ABOUT THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
“If I ever wear out from serving students, it shall be in the effort to help them obey
the Ten Commandments and imbibe the spirit of Christ’s Beatitudes.” (Mis. 303)
“Christian Science begins with the First Commandment of the Hebrew Decalogue,
‘Thou shalt have no other gods before me.'” (Mis. 21)
“The lecturer, teacher, or healer who is indeed a Christian Scientist, . . . keeps
unbroken the Ten Commandments, and practices Christ’s Sermon on the Mount.”
“Accept my counsel and teachings only as they include the spirit and the letter of the
Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, and the teachings and example of Christ Jesus.”
“Corporeal sense defrauds and lies; it breaks all the commands of the Mosaic
Decalogue to meet its own demands. How then can this sense be the God-given
channel to man of divine blessings or understanding?” (S&H 489)
“Teachers must conform strictly to the rules of divine Science announced in the Bible
and their textbook, ‘Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.’ They must
themselves practice, and teach others to practise, the Hebrew Decalogue, the Sermon
on the Mount, and the understanding and enunciation of these according to Christ.”
“Feasting the senses, gratification of appetite and passion, have no warrant in the
gospel or the Decalogue.” (Ret. 65)
“In my public works I lay bare the ability, in belief, of evil to break the Decalogue,
— to murder, steal, commit adultery, and so on. Those who deny my wisdom or right
to expose error, are either willing participants in wrong, afraid of its supposed
power, or ignorant of it.” (Mis. 335)
“Obedience to these [Ten] commandments is indispensable to health, happiness, and
length of days.” (Mis. 66)
“MOSES. A corporeal mortal; moral courage; a type of moral law and the demonstration thereof; the proof that, without the gospel, — the union of justice and affection, — there is something spiritually lacking, since justice demands penalties under the law.” (S&H 592)
“Jesus said, ‘I came not to destroy the law,’ — the divine requirements typified in the
law of Moses, — ‘but to fulfil it’ in righteousness, by Truth’s destroying error. No
greater type of divine Love can be presented than effecting so glorious a purpose. . . .
It is impossible to be a Christian Scientist without apprehending the moral law so
clearly that, for conscience’ sake, one will either abandon his claim to even a
knowledge of this Science, or else make the claim valid. All Science is divine.
Then, to be Science, it must produce physical and moral harmony.” (Mis. 261)
“The thunder of Sinai and the Sermon on the Mount are pursuing and will
overtake the ages, rebuking in their course all error and proclaiming the kingdom
of heaven on earth. Truth is revealed. It needs only to be practiced.” (S&H 174)
“‘God is Love.’ This absolute definition of Deity is the theme for time and for
eternity; it is iterated in the law of God, reiterated in the gospel of Christ, voiced
in the thunder of Sinai, and breathed in the Sermon on the Mount.” (’02 5)
“The divine Principle of healing is proved in the personal experience of any
sincere seeker of Truth. . . . No intellectual proficiency is requisite in the learner,
but sound morals are most desirable.” (S&H x.)
“I am asked, ‘Is there a hell?’ Yes, there is a hell for all who persist in breaking
the Golden Rule or in disobeying the commandments of God.” (My. 160)
Copyright 2003, 2016 Vicki Jones Cole