"The solution is to be found through the sanctification of the parents. Become saints and you will have no problems with your children." Father Porphyrios , Wounded By Love

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Publican & Pharisee

This year for the Publican and Pharisee Sunday lesson, here's an idea to get your kids and teens active. Meet outside and introduce the story with two balls. Make your kids observe them, feel them, and throw them around to each other in a circle facing each other.

Ask them to articulate just how different these two balls are. The beach ball is puffed up, displaying an array of colors in a fancy design for all to see. It is like eye-candy. When attempting to fly, especially upwards to heavens, it is tossed to and fro by the waves of air, pushing it in several directions without ever arriving at the destination. It is weightless. It is too plastic, and possibly too perfect. Worse yet, when the air is let out and deflated......there's nothing left. (A balloon also works great and can be blown up gradually in front of the kids as you give "prideful" examples, being the best soccer player, the faster runner, the best singer, first at spelling bee, etc)

The tennis ball is used, worn, abused and been through the dirt. It does have character, in fact, too much. It's scarred, maybe damaged. Might not be very good at playing the sport of tennis anymore, but when you throw it, it's like a rock. It streams through the air, landing just as far as you've thrown it. Its' destination is more reliable even if it arrives not as pretty, at least you know where it's going. It might unravel, but there's substance inside.

Now read the story from the Sunday Gospel: Luke 18:10-14
http://lent.goarch.org/dailyreadings/lectionary.php?type=gospel&code=272&event=1150&DL=EN

Discussion questions: Ask
WHO is the beach ball/balloon? (The Pharisee)
WHO is the tennis ball from the story?  (The tax collector or Publican)
What are the the characteristics you found in each person.
How we are like the beach ball?  (maybe desiring the praise at school /at home, feeling overly proud and better than others, when we talk but don't follow up with action )
 
Which would you rather be


Which does God desire us to be like? 
A prideful person is a big turn off, to others and to God!

Lastly, this parable teaches us "how to pray." In our holy Orthodox faith, we first recognize and confess ourselves as sinners who have fallen short of perfection, and in need of God's great mercy. thus crying out "Lord have mercy!" Only through humility can we attract God and grow closer to Him. Often times, God tries to deflate our over-inflated balloons in order to teach us humility. For some people, the spiritual life is a constant repeat of this, superficial inflation and divine deflation!

Lastly, include the story from one mother of a modern Saint. She advised St Paisios "it is better to let others win, and keep your friends"  than to strive to be first all the time. This thinking promotes humility as the key to Paradise!



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