« September 19, 2021 | Main | October 3, 2021 »

September 26, 2021

Year 2 - Week 4 (September 26 - October 2)

Day 1 (Monday)

Genesis 1:1-19

The first book of the Bible is called Genesis, which is a Greek word that means creation or becoming. It is called this because it tells the story of God creating the universe. It divides this story up into seven days; on the first first four days, which we will read today, God made light, and space, and earth, and plants, and heavenly bodies. On the fifth and sixth days, He made sea creatures and land creatures, and finished by creating human beings last of all. On the seventh day God rested. We read about days five & six last year, so this year we will read about the first four days of Creation.

Six Days of Creation and the Sabbath

1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.

3 And God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.

6 And God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.” 7 And God made the firmament and separated the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. And it was so. 8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.

9 And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good. 11 And God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, upon the earth.” And it was so. 12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kinds, and trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening and there was morning, a third day.

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth.” And it was so. 16 And God made the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; he made the stars also. 17 And God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light upon the earth, 18 to rule over the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.

Discussion questions:

1) What did you notice in today’s reading? What surprised you or what was memorable to you? (Leader should note that there are a lot of different ideas about how the universe came to be. Scripture doesn’t really tell us what method or mechanism God used to make it, but it tells us clearly that God brought it into being. The universe didn’t just randomly blink into existence one day; God called it into existence, and having created it, He continues to sustain it. Whether He created it over a period of 14 billion years, or six days, is ultimately unimportant; what matters is that He is the one that created it.)

2) Where do we see Christ in this text; what is He saying or doing here? (Christ is present here, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, creating all things. It is important that God creates by speaking here; it is indeed by the Word of God that all things have come into being.)

3) Do we see ourselves and the Church in this text; what does it say about us?

4) What do you find difficult about this reading? Is there anything confusing about it, or anything that you dislike? (This is an open question, as always. More advanced ages may want to get into a discussion of what the Bible says and what they are learning in school. It is worth pointing out that there is no contradiction; the Bible provides a poetic description of the making of all things by God, which is perfectly consistent with what modern science is indicating. One point that bears this out in particular is how light is created on the first day, but the heavenly bodies which ancient peoples knew as the source of light are only created on the fourth day. This fits very well with what we know about how the universe came into being; first light and energy, all of which eventually coalesced into the various elements, and the stars, and the planets. If any of the students want to discuss this more, encourage them to think about what the firmament could be referring to, or why seeds might be created before the sun and the moon.)

5) Does this reading make you think that you need to change anything in your life?

image from skete.com

Day 2 (Wednesday)

Prayer at the First Antiphon

When we begin the Divine Liturgy Sunday morning (at 10 am or so), we start with the Great Litany (with all the Lord, have mercy’s), and then we sing either two Psalms and the Beatitudes, or selected verses from the Psalms, together with a refrain. These are called Antiphons, because they are sung back and forth by two choirs. While they are being sung, the Priest prays a series of three prayers on behalf of all the people, for the beginning of the Liturgy. We will read the first of these today.

Prayer at the First Antiphon

Lord, our God, Your power is beyond compare, and Your glory is beyond understanding. Your mercy is boundless, and Your love for us is ineffable (beyond words). Look upon us and upon this holy house in Your compassion, and grant to us and to those who pray with us Your abundant mercy. For to You belong all glory, honor, and worship to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages.

Discussion questions:

1) What did you notice in today’s reading? What surprised you or what was memorable to you? (Leader should point out how we pray; first we confess Who God is and what He has promised to us, and then we ask Him to fulfill those promises. It would be good to read a second time to have the kids catch what are the things we confess about God, especially what we confess about how He relates to us, and what we ask him for in this prayer.)

2) Where do we see Christ in this text; what is He saying or doing here?

3) Do we see ourselves and the Church in this text; what does it say about us?

4) What do you find difficult about this reading? Is there anything confusing about it, or anything that you dislike? (This is an open question, as always. )

5) Does this reading make you think that you need to change anything in your life?

Day 3 (Friday)

Mark 1:1-15

As we start Sunday School, we will begin to read the Gospel according to St. Mark. This is one of four books Gospel books that we find in the New Testament, and read through each year in the Church. You may notice that we are not calling it “Mark’s Gospel,” but rather, the Gospel according to Mark. This is on purpose, and is quite important; although it is true that we have four books that are called Gospels, we need to remember that there are not, in fact, four Gospels, four different stories, about Jesus. Rather, there is a single Gospel, to which four different voices bear witness. This is why we call it the Gospel according to Mark, or John, or Luke, or Matthew…to emphasize the unity of the Gospel.
The Gospel is, put simply, the victory proclamation of Who Jesus Christ is, and of what He has done, and what He calls us to do in response.The word for Gospel (εὐαγγέλιον) literally means “good news,” and is often translated this way, because the proclamation of Jesus Christ truly is good news. However, it’s not just good news, but the victory proclamation of the King of Kings, of what He has done, and what it means for us. So let’s begin!

The Proclamation of John the Baptist

1 The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,

“See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way;
3 the voice of one crying out:
’In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight,’”

4 John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. 8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

The Baptism of Jesus

9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

The Temptation of Jesus

12 And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.

The Beginning of the Galilean Ministry

14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”

Discussion questions:

1) What did you notice in today’s reading? What surprised you or what was memorable to you? (The leader should point out that St. Mark is telling us Who Jesus is from the very beginning. He says that there was a prophecy from Isaiah about how the Lord, God Himself, was going to come to His people, but first there would be a messenger to prepare the way. Then he tells us who that messenger was, St. John the Baptist. Then he tells us about how Jesus came to John the Baptist, and how He was shown to be God Himself by the voice from heaven, and how He immediately went out into the wilderness to be tempted, and then began to preach that the time had come, and the kingdom of God was close. So the way he talks about the prophecies of the Lord’s coming shows us that Jesus is God, and the way he talks about Jesus being tempted shows us that Jesus is also Human.)

2) Where do we see Christ in this text; what is He saying or doing here?

3) Do we see ourselves and the Church in this text; what does it say about us?

4) What do you find difficult about this reading? Is there anything confusing about it, or anything that you dislike? (This is an open question, as always. )

5) Does this reading make you think that you need to change anything in your life?