Orthodox Life Session
The Daily Info Sheets will be used in the Street Wise Session.
We are asked to live an Orthodox Christian life in society. We will discuss some of the dangers/temptations that prevent us from accomplishing this.
Begin with the following prayer:
"In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Christ our Lord, the Giver of light and wisdom, who opened the eyes of the blind man and transformed the fishermen into wise heralds and teachers of the gospel through the coming of the Holy Spirit, shine also in our minds the light of the Grace of the Holy Spirit. Grant us discernment, understanding and wisdom in learning. Enable us to complete our tasks according to Your Will and to abound in every good work, for to you we give honor and glory. Amen."
Read and discuss the following scripture and patristic references:
- "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." 1 Corinthians 10:13.
- St. John Chrysostom (4th century) strongly condemned the theater of his day which depicted lewd events on the stage.
- St. Clement of Alexandria (3rd century) and St. Gregory of Nyssa (4th century) condemned pictures depicting pornographic scenes.
- The Council of Trullo (692) in its 100th Canon (rule/directive) condemned pictures which incite persons to the enkindling of base pleasure.
Discuss also the importance of parish priests and spiritual fathers, confession, the bible, and church fathers.
How do we recognize dangerous situations and temptations?
How do we deal with them, in particular how do we deal with temptation? We have Jesus as our example:
"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, ‘If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.' But He answered and said, ‘It is written, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God."' Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: "He shall give His angels charge over you," and, "In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone."' Jesus said to him, ‘It is written again, "You shall not tempt the Lord your God."' Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, "All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.' Then Jesus said to him, ‘Away with you, Satan! For it is written, "You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve."' Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him." Matthew 4:1-11.
Here we find the perfect model of how to deal with temptation. What can we learn from these verses? Jesus was ‘led by the Spirit.' He did nothing apart from the Holy Spirit, and He was led ‘to be tempted.' In other words, to show us how to deal with and respond to temptation, Jesus was tempted three times by the devil.
Three Temptations of Jesus by the Devil:
The First Temptation: "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread."
The devil must have been at Jesus' baptism, for he knew Jesus was the Son of God. He must have heard God's voice at the baptism. When we are participating in the Sacraments, especially Baptism, or when we are growing closer to God, we should expect to face temptations.
Jesus' Response to the First Temptation: "It is written ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'" Jesus responds with the Word of God (Deuteronomy 8:3). The devil knows he can not overcome or defeat God's word, so he moves on and tries something else
The Second Temptation: "…if you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written: ‘he will give his angels charge of you, on their hands they will bear you up…'" Here the devil tries to use God's word from Old Testament scripture against Him. And again, it doesn't work. "…For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways." (Psalm 91:11)
Jesus' Response to the Second Temptation: "again it is written, ‘you shall not tempt the Lord your God…" Again, Jesus responds with the Word of God (Deuteronomy 6:16). And again, the devil knows he can not overcome or defeat God and moves on to try something else.
The Third Temptation: "…again, the devil took Him…and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; and he said ‘all these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.'"
Jesus' Response to the Third Temptation: "Be gone, Satan! For it is written, ‘you shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve." (Deuteronomy 6:13) In Matthew 4:11, we read, "Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him."
We face many temptations, some are easy to recognize, some are more difficult. Does anyone here think they are better than Jesus? Of course not! Then if we see the devil trying to tempt Jesus, we can be sure he will be tempting us. Sometimes the temptations we face are not necessarily sinful in themselves, but they can be if they are acted on in ‘inappropriate' manner.
We need to become familiar with God's Word, Holy Scripture and the life of Jesus in order to respond to the temptations we face, just as Jesus responded to the temptations He faced, and ultimately overcome them. Don't be deceived by the temptations we face. Remember God's will was for the angels to minister to Jesus, but in His time, not the devil's. We need to try to act and pursue God's will in His time, not ours, despite the messages and temptations we face in our daily lives. For example, being happy and relaxed is acceptable and natural; however becoming so by using drugs and alcohol is unnatural and therefore not okay. Another example: Sex is blessed by God within the context of marriage between a man and a woman, and it is not ok outside the context of marriage.
"We thank you Lord for Your strength and guidance in our work. You are the fulfillment of all good things. Fill our souls with joy and gladness, that we may praise You always.
We also thank You, Lord our God, that again on this occasion You have opened our eyes to the light of your wisdom. You have gladdened our hearts with the knowledge of truth. We entreat You, Lord, help us always to do Your will. Bless our souls and bodies, our words and deeds. Enable us to grow in grace, virtue and good habits that Your name may be glorified: Father, Son and Holy Spirit now and forever. Amen."
Street Wise Session
We are asked to live a Christian life in society. We will discuss some of the dangers/temptations that prevent us from accomplishing this.
Begin the session with a prayer. Continue the session by reading the following story aloud.
Shannon could hear the footsteps behind her as she walked toward home. The thought of being followed made her heart beat faster. "You're being silly, she told herself, "no one is following you." To be safe, she began to walk faster, but the footsteps kept up with her pace. She was afraid to look back and she was glad she was almost home. Shannon said a quick prayer, "God please get me home safe." She saw the porch light burning and she leaned against the door for a moment, relieved to be in the safety of her home. She glanced out the window to see if anyone was there. The sidewalk was empty.
After tossing her books on the sofa, she decided to grab a snack and get on-line. She logged on under her screen name ByAngel213. She checked her Buddy List and saw GoTo123 was on. She sent him an instant message:
ByAngel213: Hi. I'm glad you are on! I thought someone was following me home today. It was really weird!
GoTo123: LOL You watch too much TV. Why would someone be following you? Don't you live in a safe neighborhood?
ByAngel213: Of course I do. LOL I guess it was my imagination cuz' I didn't see anybody when I looked out.
GoTo123: Unless you gave your name out on-line. You haven't done that have you?
ByAngel213: Of course not. I'm not stupid you know.
GoTo123: Did you have a softball game after school today?
ByAngel213: Yes and we won!!
GoTo123: That's great! Who did you play?
ByAngel213: We played the Hornets. LOL. Their uniforms are so gross! They look like bees. LOL
GoTo123: What is your team called?
ByAngel213: We are the Canton Cats. We have tiger paws on our uniforms. They are cool.
GoTo123: Did you pitch?
ByAngel213: No I play second base. I got to go. My homework has to be done before my parents get home. I don't want them mad at me. Bye!
GoTo123: Catch you later. Bye
Meanwhile.....GoTo123 went to the member menu and began to search for her profile. When it came up, he highlighted it and printed it out. He took out a pen and began to write down what he knew about Angel so far.
Her name: Shannon
Birthday: Jan. 3, 1985
State where she lived: North Carolina
Hobbies: softball, chorus, skating and going to the mall.
Besides this information, he knew she lived in Canton because she had just told him. He knew she stayed by herself until 6:30 p.m. every afternoon until her parents came home from work. He knew she played softball on Thursday afternoons on the school team, and the team was named the Canton Cats. Her favorite number 7 was printed on her jersey. He knew she was in the eighth grade at the Canton Junior High School. She had told him all this in the conversations they had on-line. He had enough information to find her now.
Shannon didn't tell her parents about the incident on the way home from the ball park that day. She didn't want them to make a scene and stop her from walking home from the softball games. Parents were always overreacting and hers were the worst. It made her wish she was not an only child. Maybe if she had brothers and sisters, her parents wouldn't be so overprotective.
By Thursday, Shannon had forgotten about the footsteps following her. Her game was in full swing when suddenly she felt someone staring at her. It was then that the memory came back. She glanced up from her second base position to see a man watching her closely.
He was leaning against the fence behind first base and he smiled when she looked at him. He didn't look scary and she quickly dismissed the fear she had felt.
After the game, he sat on a bleacher while she talked to the coach. She noticed his smile once again as she walked past him. He nodded and she smiled back. He noticed her name on the back of her shirt. He knew he had found her. Quietly, he walked a safe distance behind her. It was only a few blocks to Shannon's home, and once he saw where she lived he quickly returned to the park to get his car.
Now he had to wait. He decided to get a bite to eat until the time came to go to Shannon's house. He drove to a fast food restaurant and sat there until time to make his move.
Shannon was in her room later that evening when she heard voices in the living room.
"Shannon, come here," her father called. He sounded upset and she couldn't imagine why. She went into the room to see the man from the ballpark sitting on the sofa.
"Sit down," her father began, "this man has just told us a most interesting story about you." Shannon sat back. How could he tell her parents anything? She had never seen him before today!
"Do you know who I am, Shannon?" the man asked.
"No," Shannon answered.
"I am a police officer and your online friend, GoTo123."
Shannon was stunned. "That's impossible! GoTo is a kid my age! He's 14 and he lives in Michigan!"
The man smiled. "I know I told you all that, but it wasn't true. You see, Shannon, there are people on-line who pretend to be kids; I was one of them. But while others do it to find kids and hurt them, I belong to a group of parents who do it to protect kids from predators. I came here to find you to teach you how dangerous it is to talk to people on-line. You told me enough about yourself to make it easy for me to find you. The name of the school you went to, the name of your ball team and the position you played. The number and name on your jersey just made finding you a breeze."
Shannon was stunned. "You mean you don't live in Michigan?"
He laughed. "No, I live in Raleigh. It made you feel safe to think I was so far away, didn't it?"
"I had a friend whose daughter was like you. Only she wasn't as lucky. The guy found her and murdered her while she was home alone. Kids are taught not to tell anyone when they are alone, yet they do it all the time on-line. The wrong people trick you into giving out information a little here and there on-line. Before you know it, you have told them enough for them to find you without even realizing you have done it. I hope you've learned a lesson from this and won't do it again. Tell others about this so they will be safe too?"
"It's a promise!" (End of story)
Is this story real? We are not exactly sure. Is it possible this could happen? Absolutely. At this time invite the campers to take a few moments to fill out the "Daily Info Sheets." When they have completed the task, use the sheets and following questions for discussion:
What are some of the areas from which we receive the most information? Answers include TV, music, friends, magazines, shopping malls, and computers and internet. This is not a session to convince you that any of these things are bad, but to make you aware of some of the temptations they present.
What are the positive aspects of television, radio, computer, internet, etc? What are the negative?
What are the dangers?
What are some temptations we face from each of these?
How can we deal with them?
What does the church have to say about them?
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