Session 1: Our Common Call: To Love God and Each Other

Objectives: By the end of this session participants will be able to . . .
1. define the word "vocation" as a special role to which God calls each of us, in order to glorify Him, build up His Church, and help others
2. discuss the common vocation of all Christians to love God and each other
3. define love as a desire which leads us to do things for others
4. define anointing as God's special blessing to do His work in the best way I can.
5. name Chrismation as the sacrament in which all Christians receive their vocation
6. list parts of the body that are anointed at Chrismation
7. compare Christian vocations with a jobs/occupations

Useful Texts for Leader Reflection/Preparation (Scriptural, Liturgical, Lives of Saints, etc):
1 Peter 3:9
The prayers of anointing and washing found in the Baptism/Chrismation Service Book (Available from OCPC.)

Notes to the Leader
While preparing for this unit, along with the scriptural texts listed in throughout the unit, take the time to read through the following:
Ministry of People by Fr. Sergei Glagolev. Resource Handbook, Vol I, Theology of
Lay Ministries
To Serve by Fr. Sergei Glagolev. Resource Handbook, Vol I, Theology of Lay
Finding One's Calling in Life by Fr. Thomas Hopko Resource Handbook, Vol. II, Theology of Lay Ministries

- 4x6 cards (Note: 4x6 cards are used throughout the unit. You may wish to get a large supply to have on hand.)
- Chalkboard Newsprint/Butcher Paper (used through out unit)

While suggested answers are given after most questions, don't limit discussion to these particular phrases. The more participants can describe these and other appropriate answers in the own words, the more they will learn!
Also, the outlined sections are NOT lesson plans. Do not try to accomplish everything in a section in the usual 45-60 minute class period. You will have to decide which activities to do with your group. You may decide to expand a session to two or more classes.

A: Younger Children: (Objectives 1, 3 & 6)
Presentation: A Family Play. Have the participants put on a little skit about a family. A Before class take 4x6 cards and write down on one side a role in the family (mother, father, brother, sister, grandpa, grandma, aunt, etc.) and on the other side write a special task or job that person has in his or her family. For example, the father card might have "make dinner," the mother card might have "pay bills," or the brother card might have "clean dishes,"etc..
Give each participant a card, tell them it is Wednesday night at about 5:30 pm and that they are to act out an evening at home. Give them about 10 minutes to plan the skit.
After they have finished ask the members in the audience the following questions:
What were the jobs the different people had?
Were some jobs more important than others? Why or why not?
What would have happened if someone didn't do their task? Would it affect the other members of the family?

Discussion: Family Jobs.
What type of special jobs or chores do you have at home? What does your father do that is different than what your mother does? What does your mother do that is different than what your father does?
Are the jobs, or chores that everyone does always fun? [No.]
What would happen if you didn't do chores? What would happen at home if no one did their chores. [House would be a mess, meals wouldn't be cooked, bills wouldn't be paid and people would come and shut off the electricity, telephone, heat, etc.]
Does everyone at home usually do their jobs? Why do you think they do them if they are not fun? [They love each other and want things to go well at home.]
When we were baptized and chrismated we also became part of another family. Who can tell me whose family that is? [God's] What do we call God's family? [The Church.] We already said that people in families have special roles or jobs. What job do you think God has for everyone in His family. If you need help look in the Bible at Matthew 22: 37-40. [To love Him and each other.] How do we show our love? [Do things that glorify Him and help others: go to Church, pray, want to be close to Him, help people, be nice to people, etc..]
Write down on a large piece of newsprint "Jobs that We All Do" leaving room to list their responses.
Based upon everything you have discussed, ask them to brainstorm what they think our common vocation, job, role, is. Write down all answers leaving space directly under the title to write down a summary statement.
Say, "There are some words we could use that combine everything we have just said. As Orthodox Christians God has given us the very important job of glorifying Him and helping others. This is our common vocation."Write this on a chalkboard or large piece of newsprint for everyone to see.
Now ask, "What do you think happens when we don't do our job as part of God's family and don't try to love Him and others?" [We hurt people and ourselves.] How?

Activities: Glorify God with Your Body.
Using newsprint or paper that is used to cover tables, role out sheets large enough for the participants to lie down on. Have everyone find a partner (you may need to be a partner if you have an odd number). Trace the outline of each participant on the paper. Have participants write or put pictures on each part of their body that demonstrate how they can use that part of the body to glorify God and help others. [Examples: hands - to do work, and to pray; legs - to walk for those who can't and to kneel and make prostrations; heart- to love people; head (brain) - to think and come up with ideas; mouth - to praise and sing to God and encourage and talk to others. Have participants put their name on the paper and hang the papers somewhere with "Glorify God with Your Body (1 Cor 6: 20)" as a title.

B: Pre-Teens (Objectives 2 - 6)
Presentation: Card-Carrying Members.
Bring in a number of different business cards (lawyer, plumber, executive, salesperson, etc.) You can collect a bunch from friends, etc. or you can make them up yourself. Distribute the cards to the participants. Ask, "Why do people have these cards?" [They tell people what people's jobs are, what they are good at, and what they spend most of their time doing.] Tell them, "Many times people get special privileges by showing their business cards." [Special seats in restaurants and theaters; people sometimes act nicer to people, etc.]
As Christians each of us as have a very special job, but we don't have business cards to let people know we are Christians. We don't get special privileges that come with business cards either. Instead, how do we show people that we are Christians? [We wear crosses around our neck, but most of the time people can't see them because they are under our clothes. The only way people can know that we are Christians is by how we act and live.] Jesus, in the Gospel of John, told his disciples that people would know that they were his disciples by the way they loved each other. That is true for us too. Our job is to glorify God and love and help others. What are some special things do we get by doing this? How are these things different than the privileges people get with business cards."

Discussion: Anointing at Baptism.
Give each participant a copy of the text of the sacrament of baptism. Have participants look through the service and determine what parts of our body were anointed at our baptism.? [Eyes, Ears, Nose, Hands, Feet, Chest]. Why do you think these parts of your body were anointed? [So that we will use them for God.] How do you think we can glorify God and help others with our eyes? (Repeat with ears, nose, hands, etc.) Write down all responses.
Once all ideas are exhausted, ask the participants "We already mentioned that we have been anointed so that in everything we do we can glorify God by helping others. What are some ways we can do that?" [Feed the hungry, help the poor, visit the sick and lonely, sing about and to God, talk about how God saved us through Jesus, etc.]

Activity: You're a V.I.P.!
On separate 4x6 cards have participants write down things that the world says make us important. After everyone is done, on the other side of their card have them write down things that God, says makes us important. Have copies of the Bible, Divine Liturgy book, and Lives of Saints around for participants to look at since God speaks through the divine scripture, worship and His Saints.
When everyone has completed their cards, play charades with the cards first acting out what the world says makes you important and then acting out what God says makes you important.
On a piece of newsprint draw two columns and as each person acts out a card list the things in the separate columns. Be prepared to discuss their answers.
Discuss the following:
"How do the things that God says makes us important compare with the things the world says makes us important?"
"Which would you rather be judged by?"

C: Teens (Objectives 1, 2, 3 & 7)
Presentation: Want-Ads!
Gather a number of want-ad pages from local newspapers.
Pass out enough copies of want-ads so that everyone has at least one page. Instruct students to look at their want-ads. Ask, "What information does a want ad include?" (name of job, type of and amount of experience, education required, sometimes hours, benefits and salary, who to contact if you are interested, etc.). Instruct the students to look through their want ads and compose an ad that would describe their "dream job." Have students share their answers. Ask each participant, "If you were a doctor, teacher, priest, lawyer (other vocations) how would your vocation be affected by the fact that you are an Orthodox Christian?."

Discussion: Jobs and Vocations.
Brainstorm the following questions:
- What do you think of when I say the words Christian vocation?
- What do you think of when I say the word job?
Write down all responses. Pinpoint similarities and differences in their lists. Come up with a definition for each. Then discuss:
- How do you think a job differs from a Christian vocation?
- Can a person's job be a vocation? Give examples?
- Are all vocations jobs you can apply for? Why or why not?
Give examples.
- Are there some jobs that couldn't possibly be Christian vocations? Why?
Give examples.

Activity: Christians Wanted.
Split students into groups of three or four and instruct each group to draft a want-ad for an Orthodox Christian. Write down the following scripture references on a chalk board or large piece of newsprint where everyone can see:
A. Matt 20: 24-28, 22: 34-40, 25: 14-30 and 31-46
B. Luke 6: 27-38, 10: 25-37, 18: 10-14, 21: 1-4, 22:24-27
C. Mark 10: 42-45; John 6: 51-59, 13: 1-17 and 31-35
D. Romans 13: 8-10; 1 Cor 6: 20, 10:23-24, 11:1; Gal 6:10; Eph 4:25-5:5; Phil. 2: 14-15, 4:4-8

Give each group a set of quotations to use in developing their want-ad. Inform them that these verses will help them. Remind participants to determine what qualifications, skills, beliefs, etc. are required before writing the ad.
After 10-15 minutes come back and share results.
Discuss the following questions:
- Would you apply for this position? Why or why not?
- Many jobs have drawbacks. Do you think there are any draw backs to being a
Christian? Why or why not?
- Every job has certain benefits. Often it is why people choose certain jobs. What do you think are the benefits to being Christian?
Go back to the dream jobs they created in Want-Ads!. Discuss with them how as a Christian they think they could glorify God with that job and help others.

Teen Journal Reflection -
This type of topic is perfect for getting teenagers to think seriously about their Christian identity and how it impacts their lives. At the end of each session there is a journal question or activity for teenagers to reflect on. If you choose to do this with your teens remember to keep a journal yourself. Otherwise, teens will resent the extra "work." You can get inexpensive blank books at business supply stores such as Staples and Office Depot, or you can have the participants make their own.
Consider allotting special time at the end of each session for this so that you can collect and review them (with their approval). Journals are a great way to communicate with teens and build trust. Teens will often write something they would like a response to - rather than say it out loud.

Read Mark 8:36-38. Trying to figure out what you want to do for the rest of your life can get pretty confusing, especially, when we hear society telling us to "go out make lots of money and be successful" or do "whatever makes us happy." What do you think God wants for your life? What do you want for your life?

Session Conclusion
God calls each and everyone one of us to love Him and each other. It is the reason He created us. It was the reason we were baptized and chrismated. It is why we call ourselves Christians. No matter what role we have or what job or occupation we do this is our common vocation.