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Having and Losing

HAVING AND LOSING (Grades 7 through 12)

OBJECTIVE: To have the participant’s understand and that this life is temporary and to appreciate all that the Lord has blessed us with. To learn that in life loss occurs and is often times out of our control. Through Christ and His Resurrection, we begin to heal our loss.

MATERIALS NEEDED:

Index Cards (10 per participant)
Pens or Pencils
Butcher Paper
Markers
Current Magazines & Newspapers (that can be cut up)
Scissors
Glue Sticks
Paper Icons (that can be used in collage activity)
Prayer Books
Bibles

OPENING PRAYER:

We who mystically represent the Cherubim and sing the Thrice Holy Hymn to the Life-Giving Trinity. Let us lay aside all the cares of this life. That we may receive the King of All. Amen.

ACTIVITY: What is Important? (adapted from Fresh Ideas)

Have everyone site in a large circle, preferably on the floor. Give everyone in the room ten index cards and a pencil or paper

Have everyone write the 10 most important things in their life, one item per card (e.g. family, dog, bible, football. etc.)

When they are done writing on the cards, have them turn their cards face down and shuffle them so that they have no idea which cards are where in the stack. DO NOT let them look at what is written on the cards once they are shuffled.

STATE: “These are the most important things to you in the world. Imagine that someone came and forced you to give up the top three in your stack.” Have the young people pull the top three in their stack and silently look at them and throw them in the center of the circle.

Have them take a moment of silence to think about how they are going to live without those things.

STATE: “I know it is hard living without these things. After all, you had no choice in what you got to give up. Now, out of the remaining cards in your stack, you need to pick 2 to throw into the pile.” Have the participants pick 2 cards and throw them into the middle of the circle.

Have them take a moment to look at the cards they have left and think of how they are going to live with just these things. Have them shuffle their cards again so that they do not know the order they are in.

STATE: “Now along comes someone else and this person again forces you to give up your top three cards.” Have the young people pick the top three cards and throw them into the circle without looking at them.

STATE: “You had 10 things that were very important to you, and now you only have 2. Some you lost by choice and some you did not. Now again you must choose one to put in the pile so that you are left with one thing”.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: (accept all answers an reflect back)

• Why did you pick what you picked?
• If you could get one thing back, what would it be?
• Do people sometimes loose things that are important to them with out a choice?
• Do people sometimes loose things that are important to them by choice?

STATE: On September 11, we all suffered a great loss as people, as a nation. Tragedy struck a little too close to home. Sometime before 9:00 AM eastern time, the first of two airplanes struck the upper floors of the World Trade Center in New York City. Shortly after, another airplane crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, DC. Then, a fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania. We often here of these types of terrorist acts in other parts of the world, but this time, it was in our own backyard. As a result of these events, we realize that violence can take place anywhere. Today we just want to give you the opportunity to discuss these events.

• What are some of the losses we have been experiencing?

(Listen to what they have to say and reflect back when appropriate. Sharing should be voluntary and young people should not all be required to speak if they are not comfortable. When they are all done, summarize what has been said collectively)

STATE: With loss often comes fear -- fear of what life will be like without what we lost.
• What are some of the fears that we have?

(Allow the participants to share their fears. When appropriate, reflect back).

Is it good to talk about these fears, or hold them inside?
• When we hold these fears inside, how does that make you feel?

(It makes us feel anxious)


• What does Christ say about being anxious?

SCRIPTURE REFERENCE: Read Matthew 6:25-33

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you be being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more cloth you, O men of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek al these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: (accept all answers and reflect back)

• What is Christ saying in this passage?
• What does it mean to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness”?
• In the Divine Liturgy, we sing a beautiful hymn – the Cherubic Hymn.

We read it as the opening prayer. What does that say about our fears and cares?

(To lay them aside. If we put our focus on Christ and we know that He is with us, we are able to stand strong in this life. By placing our focus on the heavenly – we seem to forget the cares of this life. Only in Christ will our fears begin to disappear. It may take years – but by placing our focus on Him and by developing a personal relationship with Him, we can begin this healing. That does not mean that we should not care about anything in this life, though).

WRAP UP:

STATE: Up until now we have been blessed with freedom that some countries do not have. I would like to share a story with you that occurred in Albania a while ago when people were not even free to worship God.

READ: The Power of the Cross

An Albanian missionary tells the story of a communist soldier who, without prior notice, breaks down the door of a devout Orthodox widow and begins a crazed search through her home for religious books, icons and other aids to her spiritual piety. Thoughtlessly he casts the widow's possessions to and fro, violating every inch of her humble dwelling place. As he discovers a religious item he irreverently tosses it in a pile on the floor of her kitchen. Watching with disbelief at this rape of her home, the widow sheds a stream of tears and begins to understand and feel the depth of persecution endured by those first martyrs who dared to confess their faith in the Risen Lord.

As the insensitive soldier begins to leave the widow's home, satisfied that he has confiscated all of her religious items, he hears her voice and is amazed. "Wait," she said, "you forgot something." Suspiciously, he looked at her and demanded to know what he had overlooked. "You forgot the Cross," she answered. Dropping all that he collected, he ran through the small quarters like a mad man searching for the Cross. After exhausting every possible hiding place he approached place the meek widow and demanded that she give him the Cross.

Suddenly her eyes turned to laughter and with a strength, which could only have come from God she looked him straight in the eyes and said, "My dear boy the Cross which you have forgotten is one which you can never take away from me...", and with the three fingers of her right hand she blessed herself saying, "Here is my Cross."

Christ is among us and within us. No one can ever take Him away from us. While we do lose friends, family and things in our lives – Christ is always with us. When we leave this earth, we will not leave with our cars and houses – but with our Faith in Christ. Place your focus on Christ – and He will not depart from you. Create the memories in your hearts of your faith, family and friends.

CLOSING ACTIVITY:

Lay out newspaper, magazine, Bibles, Markers, Icons. Tape Butcher paper along a wall in your church hall. Tell them that it is important to remember our losses and….

Tell them we are going to create a memorial wall. We are going to spend the next 30 minutes creating a tribute to those that we have lost, and all our country has lost, from this tragedy. We ask you do this prayerfully and quietly (play a chanting CD while they work) Have them use quotes, pictures, prayers, the bible. Keep the wall up until 40 days after the tragedy and allow them to add to it after church.

CLOSING PRAYER:

If a priest is available, pray the Trisagion Service for those who perished in the tragic events of September 11. If not, sing the following:

With the Saints give rest, O Christ, to souls of Your Servants. Where there is no pain, no sorrow, no suffering. But life everlasting. Amen.

FAMILY INFORMATION:

Summarize what you did in the session and distribute to parents them to parents that day along with other information to help parents further discuss this with their children. See www.goarch.org for further information to give to parents.