THE GOSPEL: LESSONS FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
The gospel enters the life of the home. The gospel sanctifies and governs this life. And then the house becomes the Church. Becomes heaven on earth. Then the head of the house becomes the Lord Himself.
There were such people in the world, there were such people in the world who really succeeded in this. Sometimes it seems so difficult, so impossible, that the deeds of the venerable hermits, martyrs and confessors begin to appear as something closer to reality than the opportunity to make one’s family a Church. Here are my naughty children, ready to fight with their brothers for the opportunity to ride on a broken scooter, committing petty meanness, snitching on each other, it flies in one ear and flies out the other … And these children, under the control of their parents, irritated and tired, with sick teeth and an unpaid loan, can lead to such a sublime, touching to tears, but some kind of unreal life? This happens only somewhere out there, with others. At the saints.
And we have? Shall we not even try? Well, if you do not try, then, indeed, nothing can work out.
But if we at least set such a task – to live according to the Gospel, to live with the whole family as a small Church – the first step will already be taken. This sincere intention is already the beginning of building a house as a Church. If we start doing something, well, at least something, to fulfill this desire, then this is the second step. The task, indeed, is not just difficult, but almost unrealizable. Different people, different characters, different ages, sinners, with their free and not always good will to unite for the sake of God, in the name of God – there are too many unknowns in such a task.
But what is impossible to man is possible to God, Who can make the children of Abraham out of stones. So, one of us can. If we ask Him for it. Always call on God for help at the beginning of the construction of our house-temple, and while we are laying each brick, and when these bricks crumble in our hands, when there is not enough building mix, when the end-edge of this construction is not visible. To build for His sake and in His name – and then Christ Himself will become our Builder. And if so, then here is the finished foundation of our house-temple. Monolithic. Not even concrete – stone. And all we have to do is not lose heart, do not lay hands on our hands and always help our House Lord.
The gospel is coming into the life of our home… It will take a lot of things to make this happen. Believe. To live the life of the Church – a life built on the gospel teaching. And yet – at least imagine what the Gospel teaches us. Listen and hear the word of God.
Read, study the gospel. The whole family. As the main “study” in the house, which aspires to become a small Church.
In every Christian family, such lessons are arranged differently. After all, these lessons are not a series of lectures and exams, but a special form of life of the whole house.
And here I will try to tell you how we are trying to integrate such lessons into the life of our family.
Gospel as History: Organized Learning
I have already talked about how we study the Old Testament – according to the same scheme, home lessons on the New Testament can be built. These are precisely the lessons when we study the gospel primarily as history.
We choose a specific day of the week when we must definitely work with children
We choose a certain day of the week when we must definitely work with children. In general, on such a day we study the subjects of the circle of the Law of God. We finished the Old Testament – we study the New, then the structure of the temple, and so on, in a circle. Now, for example, we “go through” the Creed, one “member” per session. If such a day is allocated, if there is a “schedule of classes”, then it is much easier – at least for me personally – to make homework really regular.
There is a program: it is a sequence of gospel events. Having chosen a day, having chosen a time – a time when the children are ready to perceive at least something – the parents retell a small story to the children. During lunch, for example. At one lesson we talk about the Annunciation, at another – about the meeting of the Virgin with the righteous Elizabeth, then – the Nativity of Christ, and so on. Then, together with the children, we look at icons and other illustrations on the topic. There are plenty of them on the Internet. We read the Gospel text itself in the synodal translation, and a few days later – the same text in Church Slavonic. We make themed crafts with the kids: we read about the miracle of turning water into wine – and made jugs from plasticine, read about the miracle of bread reproduction – and baked five buns. Thus, we gradually fix what we have heard in the memory of the children, and so we “go through” the entire New Testament. It takes three or four months.
You can also focus on textbooks of the Law of God, and on ready-made presentations of gospel events for children. One “generation” of children grows up – and in a couple of years we start this “course” again.
Such a study of the New Testament texts in chronological order helps to understand and remember the gospel events as history. And we also watch documentaries with children – about excavations in the Holy Land, about the discoveryytiyah scientists confirming the historicity of the gospel story. And thus we also study the historical context of the stories described in the Gospel. The main task of such studies is to form a general idea about the events of the New Testament in their historicity and sequence.