This newsletter provides: message from Fr. Ted, audio recording link to Sunday's Gospel, Interactive Sunday School lessons and activities for All, Jesus Prayer, and key links to online services.
Dear Family in Christ,
This Sunday we celebrate the Adoration or Veneration of the Cross. This Holy Feast is done each year on the third Sunday of Great and Holy Lent. The cross was once a horrible form of public execution and is now a powerful instrument of faith that was transformed by Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We live in times where our lives are plagued by crosses in many different forms and hardships. When God dwells in our hearts these crosses are transformed by our faith. We are given peace in the middle of the storm, comfort in the middle of anguish and love in the middle of loneliness. As we wear our crosses with the knowledge that Christ is transforming us through faith, may we live in faith and not fear, for God has conquered death and transformed everything through His Holy Presence.
Be Strong, Be Faithful, Pray!
In Christ’s Love, Fr Ted Toppses
At Home Sunday School
This week’s materials discuss on the Adoration of the Cross and building a prayer corner in your home. The links are informative and entertaining. Please gather your family around the computer to participate in them. Let’s keep our children and selves connected with God and our Orthodox faith during this time. We have never been given this opportunity of TIME. Let’s use it wisely!
Let us Attend: Sunday’s Gospel
Listen to the following audio recording Saturday night in preparation for Sunday's Liturgy. Read by the youth.
The Cross is a sign of Hope, Life, Victory over Fear & Death, and a Sign of God’s Promise.
Story: A storekeeper opened his cash register. In the coin till was a nail. A housewife opened her purse to pay for an item she bought. In her purse, too was a nail. Why do you suppose they did this? They both answered, “I keep this nail with my money to remind me of the price Jesus paid to save me, and how much I owe Him in return.” The nails as well as the Cross are important symbols of our faith. Today is the day we venerate the Cross. The Church asks us to remember the suffering of Jesus and to anticipate the celebration of His resurrection from the dead. Today is a call to arms in our battle against sin and evil, and the Cross is the banner that leads us forward. Let us see how important this battle will be for us.
Up to now we have waged our battle against sin and evil for 20 days (during Lent).
By seeing the Cross, we are reminded of the cause for which we are fighting.
Also, the Cross gives us the courage we need to pursue the battle for the remaining 20 days of the fast before Holy Week begins.
In this battle we are fighting for our salvation.
Our chief weapons are prayer, fasting, and charitable deeds.
Against these the Devil has no defense.
He is our adversary in the battle of our lives.
The Holy Cross of Jesus is the mightiest weapon of all.
The very sight of it frightens the Devil.
It is the victory symbol for all Christians.
If we win this battle, we will not be hurt by the second death (see Rev. 2:11).
If we win the victory, we will be given the right to eat from the tree of life that grows in the garden of God (see Rev. 2:7).
A soldier was once tempted to commit a sin. He reached into his pocket for some money and there among the dollar bills was a nail which he kept as a reminder of what Christ suffered on the Cross to forgive him. He thought of the new nails he would be driving into Christ’s body with his sin. The thought made him walk away from temptation. He won a victory against the Devil on the spiritual battleground of life. As we watch the procession of the Cross around the holy Church, let us think of the nails that we might be driving into Christ with our sins. Let us repent of these sins and remember how much Jesus paid on the Cross to save us and how much we owe Him. It may well help us to say “no” to temptation and “yes” to Christ. It may help us to win the greatest battle of our lives.
(For God so loved the world. by John Chakos)
Prayer corner- find an area in your home that your children can go to and pray or even “play church”. You and your children can put the following items in this area:
Icon of Jesus, Theotokos, and Patron Saints
Names of each of your patron saints. Write these on a piece of paper with the name day.
Cryptogram- Print this file and solve the phrase. Great for ages 6 and up.