Holy Week is almost here, and we will be there with special episodes. As you plan ahead, keep an eye on our Holy Week and Pascha at Home page, where we’re posting ideas and resources for your Little Church’s celebrations. In the coming weeks, Virtual Sunday School will move away from Sundays! Join us.
- Lazarus Saturday, April 11: Lazarus Saturday and Palm Sunday
- Great & Holy Wednesday, April 15: Holy Week and Pascha
- After Pascha: we’ll return to our regular Sunday format
SUNDAY, APRIL 5, 2020
THE SUNDAY OF ST. MARY OF EGYPT
Today we celebrate the Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt! We’ll consider why the Church offers us the story of this wonderful Saint in conjunction with today’s Gospel Reading, from the Gospel of Mark 10: 32-45.
This is the video version of our audio podcast, which you’ll find on Ancient Faith Radio.
If you’d like to post photos of your family doing #VirtualSundaySchool on social media, we’d love to see them!
Activities for the whole family:
Set up an obstacle course that will help you to remember the life of St. Mary of Egypt. Possible obstacles include:
- A “boat” (a board laying across a smaller board) – players stand on it and rock back and forth a predetermined number of times
- A closed door with an icon of the Theotokos beside it – players must try to enter the door 2 or 3 times, but don’t until after reverencing the icon
- 3 loaves of bread (rocks or sponges) to collect before crossing the “Jordan” – players gather them and carry them along
- A “Jordan River” that must be crossed – players cross on all fours as though swimming
- “The desert” to wander in (if outside, draw a winding path with chalk; if inside, create one with pillow “boulders” on the floor) – players wander through the path
- A “rock” hideout (tent, swing set, or chalk-drawn box if outside; blanket over a table if inside) where Mary goes to repent – players go inside and kneel in prayer (Depending on the age level of the players, players could repeat the desert wander and the rock hideout a pre-determined number of times, representing her 47 years’ repentance in the desert)
- A copy of Mark 10:44 for the player to read/recite because the Word of God came to her in the desert, so she knew the Scriptures
- Player returns to the Jordan River, and walks across it this time, as Mary did when Zosimas communed her
- Player moves quickly to the hideout and lies down, as when Mary was transported to the faraway spot in the desert just before she died. (If you have a stuffed lion, it could be kept inside the hideout, and grabbed by the player to place beside themselves before they lie down, to represent the lion that came to bury St. Mary when she passed away.)
Your family might think of additional (or different) obstacles as you create your own course. You might also decide to time each player as they take their turn to be “St. Mary”, in which case you might announce in advance that the winner will do something to serve the others in the family (perhaps fetch and serve some fruit or cookies as a snack?) at the end of the game.
Fill in the blanks from the words found in this puzzle to find letters that spell a mystery word from today’s Gospel reading.
Draw St. Mary of Egypt stuck at the church door, and who helped her to change her life on this activity page.
Use your math skills to figure out how Abba Zosimas knew that St. Mary was holy!
Write an acrostic poem about humility.
Write a response to the story of St. Mary of Egypt and today’s Gospel reading.
Print and color Marydean Draws’ beautiful coloring page, featuring important words from today’s Gospel reading (Mark 10:44-45).
Be inspired by this family, who drew their favorite parts of St. Mary’s story on watercolor paper with watercolor pencils, then painted over to make their drawing become a painting! (You could also glue sand onto your picture after it dries, if your favorite part happens in the desert.)
For Younger Kids: Kh. Gigi Shadid’s Mary of Egypt is a wonderful Orthodox song about today’s saint.
Kh. Gigi is doing sing-alongs! St. Mary of Egypt begins at 5:30 but you will probably enjoy the whole thing! You can find more on her YouTube channel.
For Older Kids, Teens and Parents: On Be the Bee Steve considers what it means that each of us is broken — and how God calls to us in our brokenness.
This week’s hymn is Let My Prayer Arise from the pre-sanctified liturgy.
As always, you’ll find the audio-only version of this week’s Tending the Garden of Our Hearts weekly podcast on Ancient Faith Radio. Each episode begins with a lesson or meditation, and concludes with questions and discussion ideas to help your family grow in the faith together. You may want to look through the archives for more episodes during this quiet time at home.
Did you miss one? We’ve archived all of our Virtual Sunday School lessons so that you can access them any time.