Title: Baptism II: The Word, Water, Oil
Age: 3 to 13 years
Liturgical Time: After Pascha, a few weeks after Liturgy of Light
Prerequisites: Prophecy of Light and Liturgy of Light presentations, Baptism I
Doctrinal Content: At baptism, we participate in Jesus' death and resurrection. We are born into God's family; into the pasture of the Good Shepherd. When we are baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we receive gifts with special meaning: light, white garment, word, water, and oil. The first oil, the oil of gladness, symbolizes the mercy and promise of God to save his people. The second oil, the oil of Chrismation, is the sign and seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Direct Aim: This lesson intends to isolate and lift up three more signs of baptism: the bible, water, and oil.
Indirect Aim: This lesson also aims to foster deeper understanding of children's own baptism, so they may enjoy the gift and deepen their relationship with God.
Source: Discussion with Fr. Evan Armatas, May 2008
Materials for the Lesson:
Paschal candle in holder
individual baptism candle in holder
Bible and stand
baptismal font or bowl of water
small white cloth or towel
shell for pouring water, if used by your church
oil of gladness (olive oil) in small container with screw top lid, painted gold
oil of Chrismation (olive oil with fragrance, this will not be real Chrismation oil since that is only handled by a clergyman during the actual service of Baptism) in similar container
white cloth for table
white cloth or towel for wiping hands
poster or chart with all the Baptismal items drawn and label
The Lesson Plan:
Gather and settle the children. Review briefly what they learned in Baptism I, being sure to discuss the light and white garment. The Paschal candle used for Liturgy of Light was also used for Baptism I. The new light was meant to be shared, so they are all called individually. The white garment shows on the outside what happens on the inside. The light and the white garment are gifts.
Explain that there are other gifts we are given at baptism. Say, "I'd like to talk about another one--the Bible. The Bible is read at our baptism. The Bible is the word of God. It is full of light and life; the light of the risen Christ." Ask, "Do you remember who is present when we read the Bible?" (Jesus, reference Altar II.) "The Bible is where we hear stories of the Good Shepherd. How special do we think the Bible is, if Jesus is present when we read it?" If the children have made the discovery, you can explain how the Bible helps us learn how to be sheep.
Say, "Another gift is the gift of water. The water for us is full of light and life. How do we use water?" Wait for answers. Explain, "This water is beyond anything we have described; it comes from the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It cleanses away all the darkness from us and allows us to be born into Christ, into the pasture of the Good Shepherd. Have you ever seen a baby being baptized? I will show you. I am going to use my name. I baptize "child's Christian name" in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit." While you are saying this, dunk your fist into the water three times. The fist is to represent the baby. Then wipe your hand dry with the towel.
Ask, "Did you hear those words? Would anyone else like to remember their baptism?" At this point you can help the children remember their baptism by inviting them to the font, have them hold their fist over the bowl and repeat the words, dunking their fist, then drying it off. Tell the children that anytime they would like to remember how they were baptized and received a gift, they may do so.
Explain that another gift we have is oil. It smells wonderful. It is another sign that tells us how we receive a gift at baptism. There are two oils. You may let the children smell the oils in the containers. The first is the oil of gladness, like great joy. The second is the oil of Chrismation, when the priest anoints us with oil like a shield.
You can sing the Hymn of Baptism with the children as a way to end the lesson. "Those who have been baptized in Christ have put on Christ forever Alleluia."
Work with materials directly
Tracing packet of baptismal items
Notice: This lesson plan utilizes training and the general philosophy/method of the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program. Materials found in this document, however, have been created specifically to incorporate the theology and dogmatic teaching of the Orthodox Church. The author of this lesson offers special recognition to Mrs. JoAnne Padget, CGS Instructor, who provided instruction and guidance in the CGS method. The Catechesis of the Good Shepherd program requires intensive study and strongly recommends that teachers using their program enroll in and complete coursework through an authorized CGS instructor. More information about CGS is available at http://www.cgsusa.org.