Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Forgiveness Sunday and Clean Monday

Forgiveness (Cheesefare) Sunday

Readings: Romans 13:11-14:4 and Matthew 6:14-21

The last day before Great Lent, Forgiveness Sunday reiterates our need for forgiveness through focusing on Adam and Eve's expulsion from Paradise. The emphasis on forgiveness again reminds us that without repentance and reconciliation with God and each other, we cannot truly participate in the Great Fast. The words of our Lord's prayer are brought sharply into focus this day: "...forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us...". By asking for forgiveness, we can than repent, renew our minds, hearts and actions to be like Chirst. With forgiveness, we can joyfully enter into a season of purification as we prepare for the Great Feast and celebration of our Lord's resurrection.

For the family:
A traditional cheesefare meal is pancakes! So, moms, dump the healthy food for a day and use up all those milk and eggs for a scrumptious, sugary feast. Following the pancake feast, return to church for evening Vespers, where the parishioners will have an opportunity to ask one another for forgiveness and share the holy kiss. If you have not yet said confession prior to Lent, now is the time to do so.

For the little ones: For a craft this week, make a Lenten paper chain to help count down the days to the feast of the Resurrection. Use purple construction paper for the first 46 days (yes, Lent is 40 days plus Holy Week!), then a black ring for Good Friday, followed by another purple for Holy Saturday and finally a white ring for Pascha with the words written on it: "Christ is risen from the dead! Alleluia!". Purple is traditionally used at sombre times symbolizing our sorrow for our sin. White is symbolic of the purity and joy of Christ and black is symbolic of death and mourning.

Clean Monday

Lent actually means Holy Spring. It is a time when we should be 'fasting' from the flesh in order to delight in the spirit. So, start of this season with a day of spring cleaning. Literally. Pull out that vacuum and duster. Wash the windows. Air out the house. Sort out any junk that is lying around and make a pile of items to give away to those in need. Clean your house! And, then, when it is all said and done, pack up a Lenten picnic (falafels, anyone?), head out to a park and fly some kites! Glory in the springtime today.

For the little ones: Kids (at least toddlers do!) actually love to help mom clean. So, give them a rag or duster and let them lend a hand. Put on some fun music and whistle while you work!


monica said...

i just found this site and i LOVE it. i have started posting some lenten reflections from our experience as american orthodox living in romania. i have 2 littles and i LOVE the things you included. it literally made me say "wow" at the computer. cant wait to see what other great ideas you have. we will make the chain soon. my ds will love it.

MommaBlogger said...

I like the idea of the paper chain, but I think we may try something more like taping purple pieces of paper to the big window by our dining table. I don't make paper chains well, so I'll get creative. I even thought of using the purple post-it tabs, but I don't think they make black, so I'll go with construction paper. Great ideas!