I have developed a study for children to compliment the Apostles’ Fast. Inspired by the Jesse Tree, which I have so enjoyed sharing with my Orthodox homeschool companions the past two years, I began a Lenten study for older children this year. Unfortunately, I was unable to finish that project this time around. It will be done for next year, though!
The organized and thoughtful reading of scripture during a fast is so beneficial that I decided to try again with the Apostles’ Fast. Reading together as a family keeps us focused on why we’re fasting, and the use of crafts and symbols speaks to my preschooler in her very own language.
Let’s face it…the Apostles’ Fast is not the favorite of most Orthodox Christians. School is letting out. The weather is warming up. Everyone else in our culture is firing up the grill and putting up their feet. Meanwhile, Orthodox Christians enter into a time of prayer and fasting.
The length of the fast varies depending on the date of Pascha, so since we had an early Pascha this year, those of us on the New Calendar are getting ready to embark on a fast that will last from May 31st to June 29th. The Old Calendarists will be fasting into July. It is indeed a long time.
Rather than a burden, I’m hoping to encourage the children that there are many days coming to learn and pray. We can take advantage of every one of them. My prayer is that this study will make the fast more meaningful for the kids and help them understand that no matter what the rest of the world is doing, June means fast and pray in our Orthodox family. And that’s a good thing.
This is the short and sweet version of the study below. If you’re interested, explore it with your family and expand as much as you’re able. I’m going to have the older kids read through the entire book of Acts, not just the smaller readings included below. I’m not sure what else I’ll do with them yet.
I’m working on the calendar we will use to track our journey through the fast. I have included symbols in the study to represent each day’s reading. We are creating a felt display with a boat. Each symbol is going to be attached to a felt fish shape and put on the display. This will represent the fishers of men who left everything and followed Christ. I will post about the calendar when it is completed.
The Apostles’ Fast is a bit overlooked sometimes. I pray that we will embrace this time of increased awareness of the life God has called us to live. You can never have too many reminders! Through all we say and do, may we also be disciples of Christ!