Dear Parents of Kindergarteners and 1st Graders,
We hope you all had a Blessed Easter. Below is a summary of the lessons for the past few classes. We hope that you find this helpful when you discuss church school with your children.
Lesson 24: For this lesson, we began our discussion of Holy Week. We started with the miraculous raising of Lazarus by Christ which is commemorated on the Saturday before Palm Sunday. Then on Palm Sunday we commemorate Christ's joyous entry into Jerusalem on a donkey. We then began discussion on the stories of the lessons Christ taught us before He died-first by washing his disciples' feet in a show of kindness and service to others, and how Christ wants us to remember Him by celebrating the Sacrament of Holy Communion which He taught the disciples at the Last Supper. We described then the hardships Christ endured for us-such as the betrayal by Judas, and eventually the events leading up to His Crucifixion. We began to discuss why Jesus did this for us, and emphasized the joy that would come on the third day when He rose from the dead. We began practicing singing "O Christ is risen from the dead", and will practice singing it in Greek at the next lesson, and into the future.
Lesson 25: We reviewed the Christ is Risen hymn in both English and Greek, the kids did a great job singing it. Hopefully you were able to hear them sing it too. We read The True king gospel lesson in the Beginner’s Bible for Palm Sunday. We reviewed the following: How did Jesus get to Jerusalem? On a donkey. Why did you think there was a big crowd welcoming him? Because he was performing many miracles and good things for many people as well as teaching. They were treating him like a king. What did they do to honor him? They placed palm branched in the street and waved them at him. Why did the leaders dislike Jesus? Because they were jealous and angry that all the people were following him. wE also talked about the Crucifixion and what happened to Jesus on the cross and after.
Lesson 26: We discussed the Gospel story about Thomas and about situations where we may have our own doubts, and how to keep our faith strong then (prayer and trying to be like Jesus, and seeing God's creations all around us, etc.) We asked the kids before the lesson which Holy Week services they may have attended, having them find a picture of it on the wall, and what they remembered about the service. We discussed what happens at the Resurrection service, and turned off our classroom lights to re-enact it, and then sang Christos Anesti in English and Greek. We have also been having the kids work on puzzles of the various Saints and special days we remember in the Orthodox church.
Lesson 27: We focused on what happened when Jesus rose from the dead, how did the people discover this, etc. The Gospel is from Mark and it talks about how Jesus was taken down from the cross and wrapped in linen and put in the tomb. Joseph of Arimathea asked Pontius Pilate for the body of Jesus and he took Jesus down from the cross and wrapped him in linen which is what the people did back then when someone died. He laid Jesus in the tomb and Pilate ordered that a large boulder be put in front of the tomb so that no one could take Jesus’s body and then say he had risen from the dead. Pilate did not want the people to believe in Jesus. After 3 days women who were friends of Jesus came to anoint his body with scented oil and spices as was the custom and they were worried how they would move the boulder. When they arrived at the tomb they saw the boulder was rolled away and inside there was an angel told them Jesus was alive again and had risen from the dead. They were shocked and afraid! This was the greatest and most wonderful miracle. Jesus was stronger than death and he opened the doors to heaven for all of us. This miracle changed the lives of all the people in the world. We also played a game where the kids were able to find hidden symbols of Easter and Jesus around the classroom.
Lesson 28: The kids worked on puzzles of the Ascension and the Resurrection. We also talked about the concept of the Apostles being fisher of men. We discussed a little about what it takes to be good at fishing, and why that would be a good thing for an Apostle. We discussed how on Pentecost God sent the Holy Spirit down upon the Apostles and now they could speak the word of God in many languages to teach and bring in many new believers. The church is like a group of fish swimming together toward Jesus, and we can be like fishers of people by doing good deeds and showing Jesus' love to others. We played a game of fishing. The kids took turns using a homemade fishing pole to catch cardboard fish. On the underside of each fish was a review question and a suggestion for a good deed. The kids were to perform that good deed this week. We took the kids up the choir loft and met with Joy Melzian, a choir member and we talked about singing in the church. We sang "Christ is Risen from the dead." and the Hymn of Pentecost-which is "Blessed are you, O Christ our God. You made wise men out of fishermen, by sending down upon them your Holy Spirit. And through them, you caught the whole world (or, you drew the world into your net). O lover of mankind, Glory to Thee.") We also were able to look at the icons from high up--Annunciation, Myrrh Bearing Women, and Coming Down from the Cross. Attached is a picture from out field trip to the choir loft. We encourage all the kids to come up and sing with the choir anytime!
It is a pleasure to teach your children every Sunday. Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns.
Andrea McRae, DVM
Dr. Karen Kolias