Monday, April 6, 2015

Faith of Children

One of Kaleia's teachers stopped me this week as I walked across campus, with a story to tell. Kaleia's group was the last to rotate through her unit on myths. To mix things up, the teacher pulled out a book that she hadn't yet used this year.

It began, "Once, two gods were talking..." Immediately she remembered why she doesn't use this book with kindergarteners. The group erupted.

"There are gods?!" "There are two gods?!"

Kaleia confidently speaks up, excited to help her friends out, "You don't know about Him?! God has been around for a long time, before even Jesus. He made everything and still makes things and takes care of us!"

There was push back. "That's not true. My mom says we came from fish!" Kaleia patiently handles the arguing, holding to her belief, trying to help her friends understand.

Magnolia is also unashamedly sharing her growing faith. During a recent morning meeting, a Catholic classmate shared that he was celebrating Easter. Maggie chimed in that she also celebrates Easter, but on a different date--a week later this year. The class added it to the class calendar. After school, Magnolia's teacher thanked her for speaking up and sharing her faith tradition.  Her teacher also told Maggie that as a child her family had Orthodox friends and she always loved celebrating Easter twice.

Since then, her teacher emailed to share, "Magnolia has been really excited to share with us all about her traditions and activities this week, so we are thrilled to be hearing all about it. She shared with us her week in review this morning in morning meeting and the kids were really interested in hearing more each day as the week progresses!" This lenten season in particular, Magnolia is hungry to learn more about our faith. She is devoted to keeping the 40-day fast, which is nearly vegan, reading along with each new service, paying attention, and asking great questions. Her friends are getting a play-by-play and as she learns about their faiths she is comparing and contrasting. She has been particularly interested in her Jewish friends' traditions, which dovetails nicely, since Passover is so closely connected to Pascha/Easter.

As Pascha draws near and I reflect on Christ's journey to the cross, I am inspired and convicted by the innocent desire of my children to tell their world what they know, what they've found, what they believe.

To those of you that have already celebrated the Resurrection, I say "Christ is Risen!" To my Orthodox friends, I wish you a blessed Holy Week and Pascha.

For those wanting to learn more about Holy Week in the Orthodox Church, here are a couple of good resources: Holy Week: An Explanation and Pascha is the new Passover. Or, even though you've already celebrated Easter once, why not celebrate it twice? Find an English-speaking Orthodox church in your area and experience for yourself the beauty and power of the Orthodox liturgies this week. If you have any questions before or after, feel free to ask!

Curious why Pascha and Western Easter are different dates this year? Here are a few good links: Date of PaschaThe Calendar of the Orthodox Church, and Lenten and Paschal Cycle 

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