On this Sunday, the Sunday of the Paralytic, we commemorate the miracle of Christ healing a man who had been paralyzed for thirty-eight years, as told in the Gospel of John 5:1-15. I wanted to create another little set to tell the story to my daughter, so I dug around in my supply box and this is what I came up with!
These are 3.5 inch peg dolls, larger than those I have used for the CGS presentations, that I had purchased a long time ago for another project but never made (you can find them here, 4 for $5). The clothes are once again simple felt rectangles with a slit cut in the middle, tied with belts of felt or trim. Because I wanted the paralytic to be able to pick up his pallet, I added pipe cleaner arms, and made the pallet out of a cereal box (Christ’s halo is the same cardboard painted with gold acrylic paint). Since the cardboard is so light, the pipe cleaners can hold it up; I had wanted to make the pallet out of wood but soon realized that would have required more substantial arms! Finally, the pool is just a piece of blue felt cut in a free-form shape.
Hopefully my little gal will enjoy retelling the story with this little set. It is so neat to see her beginning to use these materials to internalize the Gospels. At our evening prayers the other evening, she chose to set up the Last Supper (Cenacle) presentation and the scene of her sitting in front of it was so beautiful I couldn’t resist snapping a quick picture.
(Don’t worry, we were right there to monitor the lit candles!)
(Troparion, Tone 3)
O holy hierarch Patrick, wonderworker and equal of the apostles, enlightener of the Irish land, entreat the merciful God, that He grant our souls remission of transgressions.
Our Joy and Hope meeting is set for March 17 this month, which is of course St. Patrick’s Day! It will be a great opportunity to take this day back from all the “leprechauns and luck” and use it to teach our children about not only a well-loved saint but also the Holy Trinity. I’m excited to share some fun ideas over the coming days that you can use to celebrate the real St. Patrick as well!
First up, resources. We plan on reading St. Patrick’s Day by Gail Gibbons, for a brief introduction to the saint’s life that will appeal to our different ages. (Patrick: Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie dePaola is another option). We are also considering reading Three in One: A Book about God, to enhance our discussion of the Holy Trinity (which will begin with a real three leaf clover/shamrock, of course!) While not written by an Orthodox Christian, the book presents a tangible metaphor (a tree) for the Holy Trinity without straying from Scripture. (I ran it by my husband, a seminary grad, who gave it his OK, which means a lot to me!) We will do some fun cooking/craft projects relating to the Holy Trinity & symbolism of the shamrock, and end with learning/singing the hymns “Father Son and Holy Spirit, Trinity One in Essence, and Undivided” and “One is Holy. (We’ll also talk about where these hymns fall during the Divine Liturgy, to encourage participation at what will be the next day’s service).
Crafts/Games/Cooking Projects coming up next-stay tuned!
P.S. Did you know that Orthodox Christian Fellowship has some great resources on their website about “the real St. Patrick”? Included are the icon above (from the hand of Michael Kapeluck) , a supplication service from which the above Troparion is taken from, and Irish recipes. Though we often think of St. Patrick as a western saint, he was born in 387 and died in 461. For more information about St. Patrick, a great resource is orthodoxwiki.
Here is a simple craft that I’m sure everyone has seen before: tissue paper-covered candleholders. I had wanted to try something new, but ended up making these with my daughter today and re-appreciating how simple and easy they are! Despite the simplicity, they are still enjoyable for older children to make, and can be a wonderful lenten activity and addition to your prayer table/corner. Lighting candles before praying and reading Scripture is both theologicaly significant and a great point of interest for children of all ages. These little candles can also be a nice gift for grandparents, godparents, etc.
We used candles that I buy for our prayer corner from A.C. Moore for $1 apiece. You can also usually find several different styles of tea light/candle holders at dollar stores, or you could use baby food jars or canning jars. We tore up purple tissue paper into small pieces, and used watered down glue to adhere them. (If you have it, Mod Podge works even better). I also added some purple glitter to the glue for some added sparkle (so much less messy than adding glitter separately!) After they dried, we added a simple yarn bow, but you can use any kind of ribbon, raffie, etc, to finish them off. Simple but sweet!