"Clean up - Clean up,
Clean up - clean up,
everybody do their share."
The lyrics to this catchy Barney song might have more use to our Orthodox faith than we've considered before because if there's one concept kids understand, it's cleaning! Whether they are imitating our motion with a vacuum or grumbling about household chores, kids can distinguish dirt from sparkle! Let us use this opportunity then on "Clean Monday" to introduce our families to the idea that Lent is a period of cleansing, and everyone benefits from participating. Because Clean Monday is a strict fast day, it should be kept holy thru holy activities. I'd say, tidy up the house only in conjunction with a lesson about cleaning both the outside of the cup, as well as the inside.
* A clean bedroom is inviting to the angels
(tidy up your icons)
* A clean body can be achieved through a clean belly
(observe the fast)
* A clean mind is able to think of God rather than other worries
(spend quiet time with God)
* A clean mouth is filled with sweet words
* A clean hand is one that has helped others
(pitch in on a group project)
* A clean conscience is achieved only through tears of repentance and forgiveness (learn to make a prostration)
* ONLY A clean soul can become a suitable place for our Lord to dwell (read Communion prayers before and after receiving)
As we embark on the most important "spring cleaning" of our lives over the next 40-days, let us remember that with each small effort we make, God is wiping away the layers of crud to make us radiant with His glory.
"Wash yourselves, and ye shall be clean; put away the wicked ways from your souls before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; diligently seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, consider the fatherless, and plead for the widow. Come then, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: and though your sins be as scarlet, I will make them white as snow; and though they red like crimson, I will make them white as wool. If then ye be willing, and obedient unto Me, ye shall eat the good of the land; but if ye desire not, nor will obey me, the sword shall devour you, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it." (Is 1:1-20, First Monday of Great Lent, the Sixth Hour)
SONG ACTIVITY "Create in me a clean heart, O Lord, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away, from Your presence O Lord, and take not Thy Holy Spirit from me, restore unto me, the joy of Your salvation, O Lord, and renew a right Spirit within me."
CRAFT ACTIVITY There is a tradition in Greece to fly kites from the tops of hills on Clean Monday. Kites have traditionally been a handmade hexagon. Narrow strips of wood are used and tied together in the middle by string. A large piece of paper is then stuck to the hexagonal shape and individually decorated. Fringes and tails of colored shiny paper are then added and an extremely long ball of string attached. Complete this activity by discussing how we are like the kite - taking a journey closer to God.