INTRODUCTION TO WEEK FOUR: THE CROSS/HUMILITY
This week begins with the Sunday of the Holy Cross. We will hear the story of how the Holy Cross of Christ was found by St. Helena, as well as what happened and how the people reacted when it was found. We will talk about why the Sunday of the Holy Cross is celebrated right in the middle of Great Lent.
Our Lord modeled humility, self sacrifice, and love for the world when He suffered on the Cross. Because of His example, in addition to the cross, we will also talk about humility, self sacrifice, and love for others this week. We will explore what it means to take up our cross and follow Him. We will hear the story of Naaman the Syrian commander who had to humble himself to experience God’s healing touch. We will study the lives of two humble, self-sacrificing saints: St. Maria of Paris and St. Xenia of St. Petersburg. And finally, we will learn from two more recent holy men, Elder Dobri, and Patriarch Pavle, what humility and self-sacrifice can look like.
Crafts & Activities for this week:
- Together as a family, have a scavenger hunt that will help you to become more aware of the Cross’s presence in your life. Talk about the Holy Cross and why it is so important to Christians. Ask your children how we venerate the cross. Then go on a scavenger hunt for Crosses in your home. Walk from room to room, looking for crosses and venerating them. Sing the troparion of the Feast of the Elevation of the Cross as you go!
“Oh Lord, save Thy people and bless Thine inheritance,
Granting to Thy people victory over all their enemies.
And by the power of Thy cross
Preserving Thy kingdom!”
- Remind yourselves to take up your cross and follow Christ by making small crosses to carry with you. See http://www.catholicicing.com/how-to-bead-a-cross-fun-christian-craft/ to make a simple beaded cross that can become a necklace charm, a keychain, or a zipper pull. Older children may prefer to make these with large seed beads instead of the plastic pony beads. Keep this cross in your pocket, on keys, or on your jacket zipper to remind you to follow Christ. (Note: if your children enjoy making these, they could make additional ones to hand out anonymously! Anonymous giving builds humility, our other theme for the week!)
- Create some cross-themed art to either put up in your home as a reminder, or to give as Pascha gifts. Need inspiration? Find a series of cross art tutorials in a variety of mediums, beginning here: https://orthodoxchurchschoolteachers.wordpress.com/2014/12/13/art-projects-for-sunday-church-school-paper/ These tutorials are geared towards Sunday Church School teachers, but families can certainly benefit from them, as well!
- This week’s episodes feature the stories of many saints and holy people whose greatness is actually their humility. Talk together as a family about superheroes: what makes them so great? Then talk about the humility of the saints we’re learning about this week. In what ways are they like superheroes? How are they different? Work together to begin a poster or scrapbook of humble heroes. Print this “Humbleman” logo to place in the center of the poster or the front of the scrapbook. (Notice how the “Humbleman” logo has a big part at the top; because humble people know that God is much greater than they are. Also, the letter H in the logo is small because humble people really don’t want to be noticed, even though they are doing great things.) Then add pictures, icons, sketches, etc. of humble people that you know or are reading/learning about. Keep your collection in a place where you can add to it in the future as you learn about or meet other humble people!
- Talk together about humility and self-sacrifice. How can each of us be humble and self-sacrificing? Brainstorm ideas so that each member of the family knows where to begin. Here are a few possible ways to “prime the pump”:
- Let others go before you in line.
- Make sure your friend gets to play with the toy you’d like to play with the most.
- Take the smallest cookie, piece of pizza, or candy instead of the biggest.
Week Four — all in one PDF for younger children
Week Four — all in one PDF for older children