|Lesson 1: The World Around Us
Below is suggested use for a 40-minute class duration
Materials Required: Bibles
Psalm 142 "I cried unto the Lord with my voice; with my voice unto the Lord did I make my supplication. I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me. I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. I cried unto thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living. Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I."
- Tell the students: One day, a man asked Jesus, "What are the most important things to do in life?" Jesus reminded the man that God had given an answer to this a long time ago in the Old Testament. Jesus said that the most important thing is our relationship with God and our fellow man. He said we should love God with all of our being and our neighbors as much as we love ourselves.
The man wondered who was his neighbor. Jesus told a story about the Good Samaritan that explains exactly who our neighbor is. That story shows that a neighbor is not just the person who lives next door to us, or friends whom we see at school, but a neighbor is whomever we meet and even those who we may never meet. Just as it is taught in the Parable of the Good Samaritan, we should show our love towards our neighbor by helping him or her. This is the basis for our Christian outreach worldwide in terms of aid.
- Have the students read the story of the Good Samaritan in the Bible (Luke 10:25-37).
- If necessary, have the students read the story of the Rich Young Man (Luke 18: 18-27) and discuss that story.
(The discussion that follows has the purpose of introducing the concept of giving, both of oneself and of one's riches, in response to the words of Christ. The answers provided for use by the teacher reflect traditional Orthodox teaching based on the commentaries of the Church Fathers. While allowing freedom of discussion, the teacher should try to convey the Orthodox Church's teaching on the Parable of the Good Samaritan.)
- Whom do you think is portrayed by the Good Samaritan?
(The Good Samaritan portrays Jesus Christ the Savior, Who heals and shows mercy. The Samaritans of Jesus' times were despised and excluded from the society by the Jews for religious reasons. So also, Christ was rejected, condemned and put to death. The Good Samaritan (Jesus) made payment for the care of the injured traveler, and promised to pay anything else due upon His return. So also, Jesus Christ as the Savior gave His life as a ransom for our redemption or salvation, and will complete all things upon His return (Second Coming). Salvation in Christ is God's gift to us, a gift we accept by responding to Christ's call to freely help those in the world who are in need.)
- Whom do you think is portrayed by the wounded traveler?
(The wounded traveler represents humanity, which is redeemed through the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross.)
- Whom do you think is portrayed by the Inn Keeper?
(The Inn Keeper represents the faithful followers of Christ who respond to His calling to help those who are in need.)
- Whom do you think is portrayed by those who "passed by"?
(Those who "passed by" are people who choose to ignore the plight, the needs and the pain of their fellow human beings.)
- What do you think the Inn represents?
(The Inn represents the Church, which Christ established on earth as a refuge and a harbor of safe keeping for the wounded, the afflicted, the needy, the hungry and the poor. The Inn Keeper (the faithful) has the responsibility to carry out the purpose and mission of the Church.)
- Who do you think was a good neighbor to the man who was hurt?
- How can you be a good neighbor to people in your town?
- How can you be a good neighbor to those in other towns and other countries?
"I cried unto thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living. Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I."