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Weekly Resources, Activities, Lessons, and Crafts

April 5, 2020

Sunday of St. Mary of Egypt

Below, you’ll find a variety of discussion questions, activities, lessons, and crafts arranged by age group.

Start your study by reading the Gospel for Sunday’s Divine Liturgy: Mark 10:32–45

At that time, Jesus took his twelve disciples, and he began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, "Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and deliver him to the Gentiles; and they will mock him, and spit upon him, and scourge him, and kill him; and after three days he will rise." And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came forward to him, and said to him, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you." And he said to them, "What do you want me to do for you?" And they said to him, "Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory." But Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?" And they said to him, "We are able." And Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized; but to sit at my right hand or at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared." And when the ten heard it, they began to be indignant of James and John. And Jesus called them to him and said to them, "You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

Discussion Questions, Activities, Lessons, and Crafts

For the entire family

Retelling of the saint’s life for all ages: “St. Mary of Egypt” written by A. Prince 

  • “This telling of the life of St. Mary of Egypt has been ‘cleaned up’ for younger ears…I couldn’t find a link to this version that included embedded icons—a help, when reading to children—so I’m placing it on my website, adding plenty of icons, and giving as much attribution as I’ve received. (Meaning: I didn’t write this, I’m just reprinting it.)” – Frederica Mathewes-Green

For children of all ages

Gospel reading, lesson, and activity pages: Orthodox Kids’ Corner by Potamitis Publishing 

For older children, teens, and beyond

Lesson and craft: “We Approach the Lenten Journey,” adapted from Let Us Live Orthodoxy, vol. 2, by Georget Photos

  • This week’s Let Us Live Orthodoxy was created to be used from the beginning of the Triodion, but it’s also a great activity for the last week of Great Lent and Holy Week. It’s appropriate for older children and young teens (approximately grades 3–8).

Video: Be the Bee #28 “Time to Repent” 

In this episode, Steve Christoforou discusses how, even when we stumble during Great Lent, St. Mary of Egypt shows us that it's not too late to get back up.

Video discussion questions:

  • What does it mean that Mary is a saint because of who she is, not who she was? (She’s a saint because she repented.)
  • St. Mary spent 40 (or 47) years in the desert. Why do you think she spent so long?
  • Think of times you have sinned. Does it sometimes take you longer to repent, change your ways, and seek forgiveness? Why or why not?

Preschool

Elementary school

Discussion questions for Gospel reading:

  • What kinds of things do you like to be first to get, or first in line for? (Opening Christmas presents, dessert, etc.) Why does it feel good to be first?
  • Have you ever been last in line on purpose? Why or why not? (For example, holding the door for your family and going in last.)
  • What do you think Jesus means when He says the “last shall be first” and that in order to be great, you must be a servant?

Activity:

  • For this week, choose a concrete thing that you can do to help serve your family. An example could be making a meal for your family or helping a sibling with their chores or schoolwork.

Middle school

Discussion questions for Gospel reading:

  • Jesus says the “last shall be first” and that in order to be great, you must be a servant? What do you think he means by that?
  • The last line of the Gospel reading says, “For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." In what ways does God serve us? How does this influence your relationship with Him?

Action item for the week:

  • For this week, choose a concrete thing that you can do to help serve your family. An example could be making a meal for your family or helping a sibling with their chores or schoolwork.

High school

Discussion questions for Gospel reading:

  • In today’s world, what does it mean for someone to be “great” or “first”? How is that different than what Jesus is describing in this passage?

Journal topic:

  • Is it possible to use humility to gain status or popularity? (For example, consider what the words “humblebrag” or the phrase “virtue signaling” mean.) Where is the line between true humility / service to others and false humility meant to gain praise or attention?

Action item for the week:

  • If you spend time on social media this week, examine your motives before you post something, write a comment or send message. Try to spend any time online uplifting others, rather than seeking praise or “likes.”

Adult

Readings:

  • “Let the Little Children Come to Me”: Children as Teachers in the New Testament: Dr. Bruce Beck examines a Gospel passage and what it can teach us about putting those we consider less important or worthy ahead of ourselves, and what we can learn from them (from PRAXIS magazine volume 16, issue 3)

Bible Study:

Introduction

What does a Bible study hope to accomplish? Simply, Bible study creates the opportunity for a close reading of a text in the attempt to understand: a) what the words of the text say; b) how the text has been understood over the centuries, with the guidance of Church Fathers and contemporary thinkers; and c) what might the text expect of me, the reader, the believer. This is best done in a group, with guidance from someone more experienced in this process. But we can begin the process on our own and later share our thoughts and responses with others.

Studying the Text

The Gospel reading for the fifth Sunday of Great Lent contains within it the third and final prediction of Christ to His disciples about His Passion and Resurrection in the Gospel of Mark (10:32–35). The first two are Mark 8:31–32 and Mark 9:31–32.

To study these carefully, it might be helpful to copy or retype each statement and create a table or place them next to one another, so that you can see what the three statements have in common and what is different. First, note the differences. Note the commonalities. What words does Jesus use to describe what is to happen to Him?

Archbishop Demetrios (Trakatellis), former of America, in his book Authority and Passion (Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 1987), offers an extensive study of the Gospel of Mark. His Eminence notes the following about the Gospel itself. It is through this lens that the Archbishop says we must read the Gospel of Mark. “The careful reader of the second Gospel will notice that its author sees Jesus Christ in light of both his Authority and his Passion at every major point of the text” (p. 138). And, “Authority does not become an easy triumph nor does Passion degenerate into incurable pessimism” (p. 139). And, “The great achievement of Mark and the tradition he preserves is a concurrent view of Christ as authoritative God and suffering man” (p. 139).

About the passage we are studying, Archbishop Demetrios writes: “It is evident that Mark 10:33–34 is a masterful epitome of the Christology of Passion. With impressively clear and decisive language, Jesus unfolds the reality of his death to his amazed and frightened disciples” (p. 67).  “The resurrection is foretold with a certainty on a par with the announcement of the Passion. The Christology of the Messiah’s supreme authority limits the intensity and power of the Passion Christology” (p. 68).

Once you have completed your table, consider the following questions as you study the entire passage.

  • Why would going to Jerusalem cause alarm among the disciples?
  • As you read each prediction, how does the expanding prediction affect your reading of the texts? Especially as you reach the final prediction?
  • How does Christ manifest his authority in the passage even as He describes his Passion?
  • The Gospel of Mark is considered to be the oldest of the Gospel texts. In it, the disciples are not always depicted in the best light; they rarely seem to “get it”. How do the disciples react to Jesus’s predictions about his Passion?
  • What did Jesus mean when he said to James and John, “You don’t know what you are asking”?
  • It can be helpful to read a few verses before and/or after the selection (called a pericope, perí-kopee). These can often place the pericope in a context or offer an insight that can be helpful to its understanding. For example, Mark 8:31–32 is preceded by Peter’s great declaration of faith – “You are the Christ” in verse 29 – and followed by Christ’s words, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross…” in verse 34.
  • How does reading a larger section of the pericope affect your understanding of it?

A personal reflection

  • Put yourself in the place of the disciples. How might you have reacted to Jesus’s predictions? How might you have reacted to the request of James and John?

 


Corresponding items that can be purchased on Orthodox Marketplace: