Grade 4 Overview
God in our Midst
In this grade, the focus is on the Church, the mystery of priesthood. What it means to father God’s people. The apostolic succession and the roots of the church in Old Testament are explored. Few examples from the lives of the Coptic Patriarchs are examined.
- Unit 1: God Fathers His family on earth – through His Son (4 lessons)
- Our Lord cared for His disciples:
- Our Lord Jesus Christ showed us the love of the heavenly Father (kind, powerful, caring and available
- A loving father who spent time with his disciples (3 ½ years) ate with them and went places with them
- He fed them
- He forgive them
- He instructed them
- He protected them
- · Our Lord Jesus fed His disciples, forgive them, instructed them, and protected them
- · He puts himself before the sheep
- Our lord Jesus Christ called disciples to help him in caring for his people.
- The calling of the disciples to be “fishers of men”(become Christ helpers, song the “fishers of men)
- How the disciples left their nets and followed Christ
- How Matthew was a tax collector who left his place and went and followed Christ (Matthew 9:9-13)
- How today priests and bishops are called out of their regular jobs to help Christ care for His people, “father the people”
- Our lord Jesus Christ offer forgiveness. Our Lord Jesus Christ has the power to forgive sins because He paid the price of our sin
- The lame man who was presented to Christ by 4 was forgiven first (Matt 9:1-8 & Luke 5:17-26)
- · Have the kids do the ACT along with scripts, get 4 kids to carry the smallest kids in the class to understand what Christ went through to sacrifice himself
- · Questions can be asked? Why did Jesus forgive because he pay the price for our sins he transfer the power to his disciples
- The sinful woman Luke 7:36-50
- How the Jews were very astonished that a Man can forgive sins
- How our Lord has the ability to forgive because He suffered for us when He was innocent. We sinned and deserved to be punished and He carried our punishment so He would be the one to grant us forgiveness
- He gave His disciples to forgive through the Holy Spirit, After His resurrection (John 20:19-23). On that night He gave them peace with the forgiveness of sins. We, too, receive peace when we are forgiven. He showed them the hands and the side, the places of the nails and the spear, the price He paid for our forgiveness.
- Likewise the disciples transmitted this power to their disciples and so to our current Pope and bishops, who give it to the priests.
- Unit 2: Our Lord Jesus Christ continues His work through the Church, in the Mystery of Priesthood: The purpose of this unit: is to teach the role of the priests and bishops in the New Testament. The meaning of forgiveness of sins, and the link to the Eucharist are highlighted. (5 lessons)
- Our Lord Jesus Christ calls some of us to father his children.
- Review the call of our Lord to the disciples, to St Matthew, and how He would take them out from their work in the world to separate them unto the work of fathering His people.
- How it is a call from both the outside and the inside. Persons who are called to serve God in priesthood would feel great love to do so in their hearts
- The call to become a bishop comes second to a call to be a monk. A person would be like Moses, who dedicated a long time in prayer in the desert before he was called back to lead the people out of Egypt. Also to spend time with Jesus alone, learning from Him like the disciples spent 3 and a half years with our Lord before they were sent to their apostolic mission. Also as Moses did not think that he would be going back to Egypt, and in fact he was resistant to go back when God called him, likewise almost all monks have a tendency to resist the calling to become a bishop. Some of them would run away from it. Sometimes ordaining a bishop or patriarch, they would have to be tied and dragged because they are afraid that the power and the authority they would have would corrupt them and distract them from serving God. These are the leaders of the Church; they need preparation and enough time to build their connection with the Lord, their knowledge of the Scripture and the Church, so they can become internally strong. Think of the rock that takes time to form under pressure and heat so it can hold heavy buildings. The priests, on the other side, are usually a deacon in the church who loves the church and they desire to dedicate their lives to serve God in the world and they are not called by the Spirit into the desert. So they get married (most of them) and have families, yet they go for shorter period of time (than the bishops) to the desert- 40 days- to consecrate the beginning of their priestly service to God like our Lord. He went to the desert and fasted for forty days at the beginning of His earthly ministry. Priests also fast during the 40 days of their stay in the monastery before they start their services. Formation is the process of shaping the inside of the person; I mean the 1. Faith formation (how do we think of God), 2.The Liturgical formation (to learn about the Church), 3.The Moral formation (or conscience formation, and how we discern and practice God’s will), 4. The Spiritual formation (to be like God and have union with God).
- Priests are stewards and shepherds
- Explain that priesthood is Christ’s way of continuing His priestly work (review the last lesson)
- There is common priesthood that we all share (1 Peter 2:9) and how we offer sacrifices to God of prayers and other offerings. The wedding gowns include priestly vestments and crowns. Because the husband and the wife are taking responsibility of their life as stewards of God to Bless, sanctify (priests) and serve (kings) the world. Before the wedding they were prince and princess in training in their family homes where they learn from Godly parents how to take up their royal priesthood
- There is also Ordained Priesthood, that’s a type of priesthood that belongs only to those who have been ordained. The sacraments of the Church can be divided into three groups: 1. The Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Myron, and the Eucharist. 2. Sacraments of service: Priesthood and Matrimony. 3. Sacraments of Healing: Confession and Unction of the Sick.
- The ordained priests are called clergy and we need them and they need strength to continue Christ’s work. We pray for the clergy that God may give them strength
- Explain the difference in the roles of the bishops and the priests- how the bishops have the full capacity of an apostle of Christ (where the bishop is, there the church will be), and the priest is a delegate of the bishop. There are certain jobs that only a bishop can do, and there are other jobs that both bishops and priests can do (take confessions). A bishop can ordain priests, but a priest cannot ordain another priest. A bishop can lay hands to give the Holy Spirit; a priest needs the permission of the bishop, through the Myron in baptism for example. A bishop can consecrate an Alter, a priest cannot.
- Our Lord Jesus Christ continues to give new disciples the power to forgive through the mysteries of Confession and the Eucharist.
- How the priest is ordained: Use pictures from ordination ceremony of our church priests (on the church website).
- Stress the process of dressing during the ceremony
- Highlight the confession of the priest during the ordination
- Recite the commandments given to the priest
- A priest cannot get married after his ordination, because he is a father to all the women and girls in the church
- How the bishop is ordained: highlight how the new bishop receives the staff, “the bronze serpent,” which symbolizes his authority
- How he is enthroned. If he is enthroned bishop. Some bishops are general bishops who have no throne. To become a bishop on a throne means you cannot your place- it is a commitment like marriage. (make sure the kids know that the bishops are not married because they were and continue to be monks)
- The clothing of the bishop the priest and the deacons
- Clothing of the priest:
- Clothing of the bishop:
- Clothing of the deacons
Ranks of deacons:
- Archdeacon (head of deacons). The First Archdeacon is St. Steven. Our archdeacon’s name is…
- Deacon- is responsible for serving the Alter. The first deacons were listed in the book of Acts chapter 6:5
- Subdeacon- helps the deacon.
- Readers- the rank responsible for reading and interpreting the church books.
- Epsaltos- the singing rank of the deacon.
- Deacons are the helpers of the priests and the bishops. They are like the Levites in the Old Testament who used to help Aaron’s family (the priests).
- To go from one rank to another, a deacon has to spend time perfecting the current duties. A reader should be very clever in singing; a subdeacon should be very clever in reading, interpreting, and singing, etc.
- The role of deaconesses: they help the priest and the bishop taking care of widows, orphans and baptism of women. They also share in singing with the Epsaltos. They can be responsible for teaching in Sunday school.
- Review Lesson
- Unit3: The Old Testament fathers of God’s family, The patriarch Joseph Feeds & Forgives the Family
- Joseph and Jacob
- Joseph’s Obedience and honor gain the blessing of the father:
How did Joseph honor his father Jacob? Joseph did whatever his father Jacob told him to do. His father Jacob put him to work with his half brothers (children of Bilhah and Zilpah as a servant to them in tending sheep. Joseph never complained. His half brothers disobeyed Jacob in many things but Joseph never joined them in any of their disobedience, because he loved his father and honored him. When his father asked Joseph if his brothers did the bad things, Joseph did not lie to his father and told him the truth.
- The love of his father leads to the blessing of God in the dreams and the envy of his brothers
Jacob loved Joseph more than the rest of his brothers because Joseph was the first born son of Jacob beloved wife who died in giving birth to Benjamin, and because Joseph was the best of sons in honoring and obeying his father. Jacob made a robe of many colors for Joseph. God also blessed Joseph with dreams. He had two dreams: in the first, he was binding sheaves in the field, his sheaf stood upright and the 11 sheaves of his brothers bowed down to his sheaf. Joseph told his brothers the dream; they understood the meaning of the dream. That Joseph will be a ruler over them and they would have to bow down to him in the future. They hated him even more. Yet, he had another dream and told it to his father and his brothers, in it he saw the sun, the moon and eleven stars bowing down before him. This time his father rebuked him “What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall your mother and I and your brothers indeed come to bow down to the earth before you?” And his brothers envied him and hated him even more, but his father kept the matter in his mind.
- God uses the envy of Joseph’s brothers to accomplish His plan for Joseph and his family
One day Jacob sent Joseph to inquire of the safety of his brothers to a far place where they tended the sheep. He got lost on the way; someone found him and asked him what is he looking for. Joseph answered, “I am looking for my brothers. Tell me where they tend the sheep.” The man told him, they left here to a far place. Joseph went after his brothers until he found them. Joseph knew that his brothers didn’t like him but he loved them and cared for them. And more than that, he loved his father and wanted to honor his father and do his will, even if it means to go to danger. Joseph went a very long distance to check on his brothers and the sheep. Joseph must have known that he is now very far away from his father’s help, if they plan to do anything to hurt him, but yet he continued and did not hesitate to see them. When he approached them from a distance, they saw him. They said one to another, “here comes the dreamer. Let us kill him and throw him in one of the wells, and let us say to our father that an evil animal ate him. This will be the end of his dreams.” His older brother, Reuben, the first born of Jacob, heard their evil talking and he said to them, “let us not kill him. Let us throw him in this well and do not lay your hands on him.” Reuben said this to save him from their hands to return him to his father. When Joseph came to their place, they took the robe of many colors that he wore and they threw Joseph in the well. Now the well was empty and there was no water in it. They sat down to eat food. Joseph had begged them not to hurt him and he cried and reminded them that he is their brother, and it would kill his father if he dies. He cared about his father’s broken heart more than about his life. A while later company of Ishmaelites was coming toward them. Judah (the fourth in order of the brothers) told his brothers, “what is the use of killing our brother? Let us sell him to these people” (the Ishmaelites were traders; they buy and sell stuff, including slaves). Judah said, “he is our brother and our flesh, let us not kill him.” His brothers listened to him. They pulled out Joseph from the well and they sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites in return for 20 pieces of silver. When Reuben came back to the well he didn’t find Joseph. He tore up his clothing (he was not with them when they sold Joseph). They took Joseph’s robe of many colors, they slaughtered a goat and they dipped the robe in the blood and they took the robe of many colors that is soaked in blood and brought it to their father. They said, “we have found this in the field. Make sure – is it your son’s tunic or not?” Jacob looked at it and saw that it was his son’s robe. He said, “It is my son’s tunic. A wild animal has devoured him. Without doubt Joseph is torn to pieces.” Jacob tore off his clothes and he put a sackcloth on his waist and he mourned his son many days.
- Joseph as a type of Christ and the perfect upbringing of a patriarch
In many ways Joseph’s life had many similarities with the life of our Lord. In this part he is the beloved of his father, full of grace and truth. Jacob favored him with a special tunic of many colors, like the gifts of Christ from the Father. And heaven blessed him with dreams, and later on we will see the gift of interpreting them. He was physically good-looking. All this lead to the envy of his brothers, as our Lord was filled with all the fullness of God’s favor and gifts and He was envied by the leaders in His time.
The father sends Joseph to seek the safety of his brothers and the sheep. Joseph had to go to a very distant place to find them. Likewise our Lord, the Son of God, was sent by the Father, who loved us, to seek us in a distant place. Our Lord knew that His coming would lead to His death, but yet He came to us in our far-away country. It’s the story of the love that the Father and the Son has for our lost humanity, and the sin and disobedience (darkness and death) He would have to encounter when He finds us.
v. Verse to remember: Eph 6:1 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right”
- Joseph is called to Egypt
- Joseph in Potiphar’s House: although the outside looks poor, but God’s blessing is hidden with Joseph wherever he goes
The Ishmaelites took Joseph to Egypt. They sold him to Potiphar, who was the captain of the guards of Pharaoh, the king of Egypt. He was a slave in the house of Potiphar. A slave is a servant who is bought by money like animals and material goods. In those days they used to live in the house of their masters. They just get fed and clothed, and they never leave the house, and they treat them like property. The Lord was with Joseph and he was a successful man. What mattered to Joseph is not what happens to him, as long as God is with him. He knows that eventually everything will turn to be good. He has to wait and be patient. Potiphar saw that whatever he gives to Joseph, Joseph succeeded in doing and God was giving him blessing. Everything Joseph touched was good and proper. He loved Joseph and he entrusted him over all his house and over everything that he owned. God blessed the house of Potiphar for Joseph’s sake and God multiplied in abundance everything in his house and in his fields. Potiphar left everything in Joseph’s hands and he didn’t know what was going on in his house and fields because he trusted everything to Joseph.
- Joseph’s Temptation: if we are blessed by God, the devil would get so angry and start to make things difficult for us. We should be on our guard and always remember not to disobey God otherwise we would lose the blessing, and that is the goal of the devil.
The devil hated Joseph because he was blessed by God, so the devil used the wife of Potiphar to try to trick Joseph into disobeying God. If the devil managed to get him to disobey God, then Joseph’s blessing will be lost, and he can be destroyed in this foreign country. The devil instructed Potiphar’s wife to ask Joseph to have a relationship with her and sleep with her. Joseph strongly refused and he said, “Potiphar, my master, does not know what I do in his house, and he entrusted me with everything. He put me over all his house, and he had not forbid me from doing anything, except to touch you because you are his wife. How can I do this great evil and sin against God?” She did the same thing in trying to trick him many days but Joseph did not listen to her. Joseph was very determined to obey God and never to disobey God in anything. He was taught by his father who loved him not to do these evil things, even if nobody else sees him because God would see everything.
One day, he was in the house, doing some work, and there was no one there in the house. Potiphar’s wife caught his robe and asked him to sleep with her. He left his robe in her hand and ran away to the outside of the house, naked. When she saw that he left his robe in her hand and went outside, she called her servants and family members and said to them, “look! My husband brought to us a Hebrew man to do something awful to us. He wanted to sleep with me, that’s why I shouted loudly. And then when I shouted, he was afraid that he would be caught. He left his robe beside me and went outside.” The woman was angry that Joseph did not do what she wanted and the devil was angry too, and is planning to try and hurt Joseph some way or another. She had the robe with her until Potiphar came back to his house. She said the same thing to him. when Potiphar heard his wife’s story, he got very angry. He took Joseph and put him in the prison where the prisoners of the king were there. Definitely God helped in this situation because in any other time a slave doing something like what Potiphar’s wife had claimed would be immediately killed without even a trial. The fact that Potiphar put him in prison, it meant that Potiphar loved Joseph and had a feeling that Joseph could have not done a thing like this. Again God puts limits to the evil that attacks His children.
- Joseph in Prison: as long as the person is with God and he doesn’t stay away from Him, it doesn’t matter where we are or what we do, only keep close to God and everything we do will be successful. It did not bother Joseph that he was in prison, nor made him feel depressed. So he could take care of the duties that is given to him. Sometimes we lose our joy because of the change in circumstances, but if we only focus on our relationship to God then God would turn the worst situation into the best.
And the Lord was with Joseph, and He gave him grace in the eyes of the prison warden, and slowly, day after day, the warden loved Joseph and respected him very much, that he gave him all the prisoners and the work to take care of. The prison warden trusted Joseph and didn’t interfere with the work that Joseph did in the prison. In a way, Joseph became responsible for the prison and everything that belonged to the work of the prison. That happened because the Lord was with Joseph and whatever he did, the Lord made successful.
- Verse to remember: Gen 39:9 “How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?
- Joseph interprets dreams in prison
- God continues to prepare Joseph for the work He needed him to do, which is to prepare the way of the coming of his family from the land of Canaan to Egypt until the land of Canaan, which God promised to Abraham, is ready to receive them. The family would be a big number and would increase in number even more and the land of Canaan has already people living there and God told Abraham that He will give this land to his family, but not immediately. And He told Abraham that He would send his family to another country (which is Egypt) and they will live there for 400 years. At the end of the 400 years God will bring them back miraculously and have them live in the Promised Land that He gave to Abraham. And now the plan is coming to great actions. God used Joseph and the envy of his brothers to fulfill the plan.
- Joseph interprets dreams in the prison: after these things happened, Pharaoh the king of Egypt was very angry with his head baker that makes him the bread and his head butler for evil they had done to the king. So he sent them both to the prison where Joseph was imprisoned. Joseph served both of them as they spent many days in the prison. One night they both had each a dream. When the morning came Joseph came to serve them and looked at them and they were very unhappy and depressed. Joseph asked them why they looked depressed and unhappy. Both said to him that we each had a dream and we could not understand its meaning. Joseph told them, “God knows the meaning of the dreams. Tell your dreams to me and I will help you.” The butler started telling the dream to Joseph and said to him that in his dream there was a vineyard. In the vine, there were three branches; as the branches budded and brought out clusters of grapes, “I looked and I saw the cup of Pharaoh in my hand. I took the grapes, I squeezed them in the cup of Pharaoh, and I gave the cup to Pharaoh in his hand.” Joseph answered and said “the three branches are three days. In three days Pharaoh will restore your place and you will be once more giving Pharaoh his cup in his hand as you did before when you were his butler. I ask you a favor, when this happens to you, do me a favor and remember me before Pharaoh so he would bring me out from this prison, for I was stolen from the land of the Hebrews and here to I did not do anything to deserve prison.” When the head baker saw that he had a good explanation of the dream, he also started to tell the dream to Joseph, and he said that he dreamt that there were three baskets of bread on his head. In the top basket it contained all the food of Pharaoh that the bakers do for him. “The birds were eating from the top basket as I was holding the basket on my head.” Joseph answered and said, “This is the meaning of the dream. The three baskets are three days. In three days Pharaoh will take your head off your body and hang you on a pole and the birds will eat your flesh off your body.” And it happened that on the third day, Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast for all his servants, and he did exactly what Joseph predicted: He returned the butler to his job, to give Pharaoh the cup in his hand, but the head baker, he hanged exactly as Joseph had explained to them. The head butler did not remember Joseph but totally and completely forgot him. Here we see how the time is not right for Joseph to see Pharaoh yet. God has to send the dream to Pharaoh, then the butler would remember Joseph. If Joseph were to get out of the prison then, the plan of God would not be fulfilled and Joseph would have been working somewhere in a corner of Egypt and never to be remembered again.
- Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dreams: it was 2 years that passed after Joseph interpreted the dreams of the head butler and the head baker. He continued to do a great work in the prison and God continued to support him, from within and from without. After 2 years Pharaoh saw a dream: Pharaoh was standing by the river Nile. He saw 7 cows coming up from the river; they were very good looking and fat. They went to the bank where they found a meadow and they enjoyed their meal. Afterwards another 7 cows came from the river; they were very ugly and skinny. They stood next to the first 7 by the bank of the river. This time the meal was the good cows. The ugly skinny cows ate the good-looking fat 7 cows. The fat cows entered the mouth and the belly of the skinny cows, but no one can tell that they actually swallowed the fat cows because the skinny cows continued to be very skinny. Pharaoh woke up, disturbed. Then he managed to get to bed and sleep again. Then he saw a second dream: 7 heads of grain growing up in one stalk. They were big and good-looking. And he saw another 7 heads of grain, very skinny, not so good looking, and the dry hot wind was blowing on them. He looked and saw the skinny heads of grain swallowing the 7 fat, good-looking heads of grain. Pharaoh woke up and it was just a dream. He was disturbed and was very concerned. He called all the magicians and all the wise people of his country and he told them his dream, and no one could give him the meaning of the dream. At this point, the head butler spoke to Pharaoh saying, “I remembered today what happened to me 2 years ago when you put me in the prison with the head baker, and how each of us had a dream in one night, each one. There in the prison there was a Hebrew boy who was a slave of Potiphar. We told him the dreams and he explained them to us, and what he explained exactly happened. He told me that I will come back to my job, and he told the head baker that he would be killed. Pharaoh sent and called Joseph. They brought him from the prison. He shaved and bathed and changed his clothes, and he stood before Pharaoh. Pharaoh told him, “I heard that you explain dreams.” Joseph said to Pharaoh, “God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace. It is not I who interprets the dreams.” Pharaoh told Joseph his dreams and he told him that no one could interpret them. Joseph answered and said that God is revealing to Pharaoh what He is going to do. The 7 good cows are 7 years. The 7 good heads of grain are 7 years. This is one dream. The 7 skinny cows that came after them are 7 years, and the 7 empty heads of grain with the wind blowing on them are 7 years of hunger. God is telling Pharaoh what God is going to do. There will be 7 years of abundance. There will be plenty of food in all Egypt. After the 7 years of abundance is finished, there will be 7 years of hunger. People will forget all the abundance that was during the first 7 years, for the hunger will be very severe. But why the dream was repeated twice, that is because God is going to do this thing very soon. Then Joseph told Pharaoh he would need to have a wise person to make him in charge of all the land of Egypt. Joseph told him the plan, how this would happen: he would have to have overseers on the land and they would take 1/5 of the harvest during the 7 years of abundance. They would collect all the food of these good years and store grain to be in Pharaoh’s stores, food in the cities to be kept. So this food kept in the stores will be used in the years of hunger that will come in the land of Egypt. Pharaoh liked the plan of Joseph and also his servants liked the plan. Pharaoh looked to his servants and said, “Can we find anyone like this man who has the spirit of God?” Pharaoh told Joseph, “if God showed you all this, then there will be no wiser man like you. You will be in charge of all my house and I would order everybody to listen to your orders. Only I should be greater than you in Egypt.” Pharaoh took off his own ring from his hand put it in the hand of Joseph. He dressed him with robes of silk and he put a golden necklace around his neck. He had him ride in his second chariot, and people called before him, “bow down!” He said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, without you, no one should do anything in the land of Egypt.” Pharaoh called the name of Joseph Zaphnath-Paaneah, which meant “the savior of the world”. He gave him a wife, her name was Asenath. She was the daughter of a great priest in Egypt.
- Joseph was like Jesus because he is called the savior of the world, and the dream of the head butler and the head baker has some hints to the life of Christ. Before he goes to become the savior of the world in interpreting the master dream of the story, he interprets dreams about bread and wine in which the one who had the dream about the bread will be hung, dead, and the wine will be given to the hand of Pharaoh in a cup. Likewise, our Lord before His glorification and His resurrection, His body will be hung on the cross, and the blood will be in the cup. Joseph was called the “savior of the world”. Joseph was married to an Egyptian wife, Christ “marrying the gentile not Jewish church”. Joseph is going to live all his life in Egypt and die there. His brothers would have to come to him outside the promise land. For Jewish people to find Christ, they would have to come to the Church and leave their old covenant.
- Joseph receives his brothers 2 times
- The years of abundance and the years of famine:
During the years of abundance, Joseph made storehouses in all the cities and he gathered the grain, too much grain, into the stores. They gave up counting, for the number was beyond counting. During the years of abundance Joseph had two children from his wife, Asenath. He called the first born Manasseh, which means “to forget” because he said, “God had made me forget all my troubles and even the house of my father.” He called the second Ephraim, which means “abundant fruits” for “God had made me fruitful in the land of my humiliation.” The 7 years of abundance ended and the seven years of hunger started to come, according to what Joseph predicted. All the countries had hunger and famine, except the land of Egypt. They continued to have bread. When the Egyptians ran out of food, they came to Pharaoh to ask for bread. Pharaoh told them to go to Joseph and “whatever he says to you, you do it.” Joseph opened all the stored food and he sold to the Egyptians.
When Jacob heard that there is grain in Egypt, he said to his sons, “Why are you waiting? I heard there is grain in Egypt. Go to Egypt and buy for us so we can live and not die.” 10 of the brothers of Joseph went down to Egypt to buy grain. But Jacob did not send Benjamin with his brothers for he was worried that he would be hurt. Remember that Joseph and Benjamin were the only children of Rachel, his beloved wife who died. They came to Egypt, they came to Joseph and bowed before him with their faces to the ground. And this fulfilled the first dream that he had when he was still with his father, the dream that he saw 11 sheaves of grain bowing to his sheaf. The image of the dream was detailed to include the reason of why they bow down – because of grain. Joseph knew his brothers, but he did not reveal himself to them. He spoke to them harshly and asked them “where are you from?” They said, “From the land of Canaan. We came to buy food.” Joseph knew his brothers, but they did not know him. Joseph remembered the dreams that he dreamt about them, and he said to them, “you are spies, you came to see the weakness of our land.” They said, “No master, your servants came to buy food. We are all the children of one man. We are honest, we are not spies.” He said to them, “no, you came to see the weakness of the land.” They answered, “we are 12 brothers, all the children of one man in Canaan. One of us is missing, and the youngest of us is with our father today.” Joseph was pressing to see what they would do today if they were asked about their brothers. Joseph said to them, “I still think you are spies. I will test you, and you will never come out of here, except if you bring your little brother to me. Send one of you to bring your brother and the rest of you, I will keep here to know if you really say the truth or not. Otherwise, as Pharaoh lives, you are spies.” So he put them in prison for three days. One the third day, Joseph brought them and said, “if you were honest, let one of you stay here, and the rest of you go, take grain for your houses but then come back and bring your little brother to me so I know that you are honest and you will not die.” So they did as he asked. Before the nine went home and they talked to each other and said, “we are guilty because of our brother, Joseph, when his soul was very stressed and begged us to have mercy on him and we did not listen. Therefore today we are in this trouble.” Reuben said to them, “didn’t I tell you? Do not hurt the boy? And you did not listen to me. Today his blood is demanded of us.” They said this while Joseph stood understanding. He was speaking in the Egyptian language and had a translator translate to them what he said. When Joseph heard them say these things, he turned his face away and cried. Then he returned to them and spoke to them. He took Simeon and tied them before their eyes. Joseph ordered that their bags will be filled with grain and their money should be put back in their bags and they should get food for the road, and it was done. They carried their grain in their donkeys and they left from there. One of them opened his bag to give food to his donkey and saw his money and he said to his brothers, “I received my money back.” They were greatly disturbed and they were afraid. And they asked each other why God is doing this to us.
They came to Jacob their father and they told him everything. And they told him how the Egyptian master had kept Simeon and he would not release him until they bring Benjamin with them and then when they opened their bags, each found his money in his bag. When they saw this, Jacob and his children were greatly afraid. Jacob said to them, “you have taken my sons, Joseph is lost. Simeon is lost. And you want to take Benjamin?” Reuben spoke to his father saying, “kill my son if I don’t bring him back to you. You give him to my own hands and I will return him back to you.” Jacob refused and said “my son will not go with you. His brother died and he alone is left. If he is hurt on the way you will go through, you will bring my old age with great sadness, even to Hades.” The famine increased. When the family of Jacob finished eating the grain they brought from Egypt, Jacob told them to go and buy more food. Judah said, that the man in Egypt who had instructed them not to see his face without their little brother with them. So if you don’t give us our brother to go with us to buy food, otherwise we will not go, for the man said you shouldn’t see my face without your brother with you. Jacob said, “why are you doing this to me? Why did you tell the man that you have another brother?” They said, “the man asked about us and about our family. And he asked if our father still lives, and do you have another brother? We had to answer all these things. We didn’t know that he would say, bring your brother.” Judah said to Israel, his father “send the young boy with me so we may go and live and not die, neither us nor you, nor the rest of our children. I will protect his safety. From my hand, you request him. if I don’t bring him to you and make him stand before you, I am willing to be guilty before you all the days. For if we have not delayed, we could have gone and came back two times.” Israel, their father, said to them, “do this. Take from the best fruits of our land and give a gift to the man. Take the money with you again, maybe they forgot to take it. May God almighty make him nice to you so he would set Simeon free and leave Benjamin to come back safe. And if I lose my children then let it be. The Sons of Jacob took the gifts, Benjamin and double the money and went to Egypt.
- The Coming of Jacob Family to Egypt:
- Joseph tests his brothers and reveals himself 43-46
- Joseph meets his father 46
- Jacob blesses the 2 children of Joseph and counts them as his own kids 48
- Jacob dies
- Joseph forgives his brothers 50
- Unit 4: We love our Church, the House of God: (5Lessons)
- The Church building: God is our Savior
- The Church is shaped as a cross, an ark or a circle
- The domes
- There are three sections to the church:
- The Baptism is on the left hand before you enter
- The Lakan is in the back portion of the church
- The Holy place is separated from the nave by the Iconostasis
- Our windows into heaven: The Icons, Iconostasis, candles and incense:
- We celebrate: The Day of the Lord and The Church calendar
- We have common prayers: the Agpeya and the praises
- Review Lesson
- Unit 5: Stories of some of the Coptic Patriarchs and Bishops (6 lessons)
- Story of St. Mark initiated the church our family of faith (the first patriarch – “our Abraham”)
- Story of St. Peter the Seal of Martyrs sacrificed for the faith – “Isaac”
- Story of St. Athanasius. Fought for the faith “Jacob”
- Story of St. pope Kyrilloss the sixth: Life of Prayer
- Story of life of pope Shenouda: life of service. and the making of Myron
- Story of St Abram bishop of Fayome.
- Unit 5: God saves His people through Christ in the mysteries of the church 🙁 Salvation) (4 lessons)
How in the mysteries we turn our faith into actions.
Purpose: How we encounter Christ through the mysteries of the church. In Baptism: we are buried with Him and rise with Him we are one with Him. We become children of God. In Chrismation we become a temple of the Holy Spirit. In confession, Christ gives us His forgiveness. In the Eucharist He gave us eternal life. In unction of the sick, we receive the healing touch of Christ. In Marriage we receive His power of unity and strength of service. In priesthood a person receives the power to love and care as our Lord, we – through the priest- receive His fatherly love.
- Baptism and Chrismation:
- Our new birth from heaven by water and spirit so we are saved from eternal death
- The renunciation of the devil and acceptance of Christ, what does that mean?. What is the Mother’s role?
- The immersion 3 times. Why immersion? Death and burial. Then, resurrection.
- Chrismation: the Holy Spirit indwells us as we become the Temple of the Spirit (36 anointing of the whole body) why?
- Confession and communion and unction of the sick
- Review confession from last year. How in confession we renew the renunciation of the devil
- Communion and receiving eternal life
- Unction of the sick (the seven prayers) and forgiveness of sins
- Priesthood and marriage
- Priesthood review ( the mystery of service)
- Marriage (the two made one)
- Unit 6: We love the Church (4 lessons)
In this unit, the children learn to view their role in the church in both receiving and responding to the mysteries. The church celebrations and seasons:
- We celebrate the Lords day and keep it Holy
- We have seasons in the church:
- We have feasts
- We have the Holy week of Pascha
- Unit 7: The Agpeya: “Seven times a day I praise You, because of Your righteous judgments” Psalm 119:164
Note for Servants: It is a good time to reflect on the book of Psalms and on the wisdom of the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, in putting this assortment of Psalms in each of the hours. Notice that all apostolic traditional churches have more or less the same order of psalms. It is a good time to get the kids started on praying with the Agpeya and have their own Agpeyas and follow up with them on prayer every week. It is good to give them a spiritual log. Included in the spiritual log is self examination- to sit with ourselves every day at sunset and examine if what we did that day was pleasing to God or not
- Explaining the Agpeya
- The practice of praying the Agpeya comes from King David who divided the day into 7 times, to pray at all times
- Some psalms are divided between the 7 prayers
- Each prayer has the same introduction and conclusion; each prayer includes a piece from the Gospel and litanies special for that hour of the day
- Each prayer has a theme fitting for the time of the day
- Each prayer is offered to Christ our Lord and our God
- The First Hour 6 a.m.
- The theme is Resurrection and the first light
- The psalms talk about Resurrection, light, and beginning; the Gospel is the first part from St. John: “In the beginning was the word… He was the light of the world.”
- Psalms like “The Lord is my light and my salvation”
- It is very beautiful to be prayed just before sunrise
- The Third Hour 9 a.m., the Sixth hour 12 p.m., and the Ninth Hour 3 p.m.
- The themes of the third hour are the descent of the Holy Spirit, in this hour our Lord was condemned to be crucified, and the beginning of the day of work
- The Psalms of the third hour are requests for help and vindication; the Gospel is about the coming of the Holy Spirit
- The theme of the sixth hour is the Cross, noontime, and the heat of the day
- The psalms of the sixth hour are focusing about the protection of God, “under His wings,” pointing to the Cross; the gospel is about the Sermon on the Mount (was given around noon time)
- The theme of the ninth hour is the death of our Lord, the Passover meal time
- The psalms of the ninth hour are victorious psalms; the last 2 psalms are Passover psalms; the gospel is about feeding the multitude with 5 loaves and 2 fish, which happened around 3 p.m.
- The Eleventh Hour 5 p.m. and the Twelfth Hour 6 p.m.
- The theme of the eleventh hour is the descending of the body of Christ from the Cross and sunset
- The psalms start with the Passover psalms (the first 2); the rest of the psalms focus on the city, the house and the family as persons who had finished their working day, turned their thoughts and hearts towards home; the gospel is about Jesus entering a home at sunset
- The theme of the twelfth hour is the burial of Christ and sleep
- The psalms are about the cry for salvation from the depths and from a distant land; the gospel is about Simeon the elder who asked God to let him depart in peace
- Midnight Hours 9 p.m., 12 a.m., 3 a.m.
- The theme is the second coming of Christ
- The psalms are focused on request of salvation and watchful waiting; the gospels are about the parable of the 10 virgins, the parable of the watching servant, and the repenting sinful woman with tears
- Unit 8: Relations with Others
- We love God’s people (I): The Family
- Relationships within the family
- The wheel of happiness: love, obey, help, pray, respect
- “Love one another as I have loved you.”
- The church is the community of disciples