Lesson 2 – Offering of the Lamb part II

We had another really awesome lesson just the other day! We learned a lot, and everyone is really catching on with literally everything. We are again pretty blown away and proud of you all, keep it up!

We finished the Offering of the Lamb section of the Liturgy this last session. Do you remember the 4 parts of the Liturgy?

  1. The Offering of the Lamb
  2. The Liturgy of the Word
  3. The Liturgy of the Faithful
  4. Distribution

Here is a recap of our lesson yesterday:

Hymns – we learned the hymn “This is the Day which the Lord has made”, which is also called “Alleluia Fai Pe Pi” in Coptic. We sing this towards the end of the Offering of the Lamb, reminding us to be thankful for the day and to REJOICE! We also ask God to save us, forgive us our sins, and renew us as we rejoice that we are able to attend this day and receive Communion, which in and of itself is transformative.

This Hymn is found in the 1st Grade packet that you received on the first day, page 4. Here is an online link to the page: http://www.suscopts.org/ssc/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/01st_Grade_Hymns_curriculum_2016.pdf

And here is a link to our SoundCloud recording: https://soundcloud.com/user-457437655/girls-choir-track-2-alleluia-fai-pe-pi

Psalm 122 – We memorized the first half of this psalm, and for next time, we decided we will have the second half memorized as well. Here it is:

5 For thrones are set there for judgment,
The thrones of the house of David.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May they prosper who love you.
Peace be within your walls,
Prosperity within your palaces.”
For the sake of my brethren and companions,
I will now say, “Peace be within you.”
Because of the house of the Lord our God
I will seek your good.

Here is the full psalm 122! Do you have it memorized yet?

I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go into the house of the Lord.”
Our feet have been standing
Within your gates, O Jerusalem!

Jerusalem is built
As a city that is compact together,
Where the tribes go up,
The tribes of the Lord,
[a]To the Testimony of Israel,
To give thanks to the name of the Lord.
For thrones are set there for judgment,
The thrones of the house of David.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May they prosper who love you.
Peace be within your walls,
Prosperity within your palaces.”
For the sake of my brethren and companions,
I will now say, “Peace be within you.”
Because of the house of the Lord our God
I will seek your good.

Remember, this is recited on our way to church. We come to Liturgy with PREPARATION! We prepare our minds, hearts, all that is outward and inward before receiving Holy Communion.

We will work on having this entirely memorized by the next time we meet. If EVERYONE has the psalm memorized then we will take you out to ICE CREAM after the lesson!! Again, everyone has to have it memorized. Help each other out, practice with each other, etc, so you we can all have a good time after practice!

Coptic letters – We memorized 3 more letters! We also memorized a few memory words. Remember, we will memorize both the letters and the memory words for each letter!

Dalda –

Coptic Dalda-maj.svg
Coptic Dalda-min.svg

This letter has 2 pronounciations: “th” just like the English word “this”. The Coptic memory word we learned was “thoroon” which means “gift”. The second way of saying it is “d” like “David” (our second memory word), and is usually pronounced this way for names mostly.

Ei –

Coptic Ei-maj.svg
Coptic Ei-min.svg

This letter is pronounced like “ai” as in “rain” or “pen”. We learned the Coptic word “En” which means “monkey”!

Soo –

Coptic Sou.svg

Remember, this letter is actually just a number. It represents the number 6. It’s not used to make any words. In Coptic, the letters are used both as letters and as numbers; the number system is based on the alphabet itself. Each letter represents a number, and since Soo is the 6th letter of the alphabet, it stands for the number 6 as well. Got it? Good!

Liturgical rites – We learned about 2 spiritual topics during our last session together:

  • Thanksgiving Prayer
    • Almost every time we pray, either together in church or even in our own personal prayers in the Agpeya, we always start with the Thanksgiving Prayer. Why is that? The Church in its wisdom has taught us through this the importance of thanking God and being grateful daily. The world around us is only catching up to this recently, with gratitude journals found everywhere as a help or cure for someone’s anxiety or depression, and counselors advising their patients to exercise gratefulness daily also with mindfulness techniques. But we have always known for thousands of years to be grateful daily for everything in our lives, no matter how tough things may be. Maybe you’re dealing with difficulties at school, work, or home. You may even be having great things happen in your life lately. In every case, we in our Church thank God “for every condition, in every condition”, because not only should we be thankful, but it also grounds us and changes our perspective on life, even if you’re going through a lot of terrible things in life.
  • The Lord’s Prayer
    • Another prayer we pray every day and, what feels like ALL THE TIME! If the Church has us do something very frequently, there’s usually a good, beneficial reason behind it. Jesus taught His disciples how to pray with this as a template. It is found both in the Gospels of Matthew (6:9-13) and Luke (11:2-4). Pay attention to the ORDER of things as well as the MEANING line-by-line:
      • Our Father who art in Heaven – God gives us the ability to call Him “dad”. This is huge, because before Christ and in many other faiths, the relationship with God is a bit more formal. I can definitely go over this with you all one day, and can even have a dedicated session on world religions. Either way, this is really special. Through Christ, we have our identity as a child of God in the Kingdom of Heaven restored, and God is not someone whose name we cannot even utter (as in the Old Testament), but is someone we can very confidently call very endearingly our “dad”.
      • Hallowed be thy name – We always start by praising God. Why? Because He is AWESOME! He deserves all praise and honor as He is so holy. It also falls along the lines of being grateful always. We start our prayers with praising Him and remembering His holiness, reminding us of being thankful for all that He does in our lives, and being strengthened by knowing how mighty He is. He can conquer all of our problems.
      • Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven – as we keep our focus on Christ and the Kingdom, we cannot wait for the time that He is coming again. In Revelation, St. John also ends the book by saying “Amen. Even so, Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20) However His Kingdom can be present within our daily life today as well, both “on earth as it is in heaven.” We ask for God’s will be done in our lives now and thereafter, as God knows much more than we do about what is best in our lives.
      • Give us this day our daily bread – If you noticed, this is the first part of the prayer that we are actually asking God for something, after thanking and praising God. This does not necessarily mean for God to give us food every day, but the meaning is much more than that. We ask God to give us what we need for each day in order to conquer the day. Just as God gave the Israelites in the desert manna every day, enough to sustain them for that day only (Exodus 16), God gives us what we need day-by-day. The Church teaches us to focus on our day, the here and now, and to not worry about tomorrow.
      • Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us – this is probably the hardest part to say, since many of us have gone through conflicts and it’s hard to always forgive people. Remember, when you’re saying this, you are saying to God to forgive you just like you are forgiving others. If you find yourself not forgiving others, God will also not forgive you, as He said in the Gospels (Matthew 6:14-15). Use this as a reminder to yourself to forgive others. Remember, forgiveness does not mean forgetting, but it does mean not holding anything against another person anymore.
      • Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one – Every day is a struggle against the enemy and any temptation that comes in our way. It is a daily carrying of the cross with Christ. But Jesus helps us along the way, and not only delivers us from the evil one when we let Him, but also through this process He renews us and makes us whole. Remember that there are going to be things that will trip you up, or at least attempt to, all the time every day. Keep your eyes open, continue the struggle, and walk with Christ: Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 
        • Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. (1 Peter 5: 8-10)
      • For thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory, forever, amen. – we close with adoration and praise, as always to bring everything full circle, to remind us to praise always as is due to Him, and to remind us about how mighty our God is!
  • There is SO much more we can talk about with the Lord’s Prayer. We have a link to a great podcast on this topic here, as well as a link to the book we had mentioned:

We also learned 2 facts about the Liturgy as well:

  • Prospharine – A Greek word for the large piece of linen that Abouna uses to cover the bread on the altar at the end of the Offering of the Lamb.
  • Prayer of Covering – prayer prayed by Abouna when we cover the altar with the prospharine. We are reminded of the burial of the Lord. He covered our sins in His death. The hiding of the offerings is like the hiding of Christ’s reality and His mystery of His redeeming work until the time of Resurrection (e.g. 2 disciples on the road to Emmaus). This prayer also declares that partaking in Communion is for healing and salvation of our souls, bodies, and spirits.

Wow, that was a lot, again! But we are making great headway and learning tons!

Remember:

  • Memorize ALL of Psalm 122 for ICE CREAM after! Everyone has to have it memorized!
  • Practice the hymn above!
  • Again, acts of kindness, focussing in class, etc can win you points for prizes throughout the year!

See you next time!

Love, in Christ,

Juju + Jasneet ❤

Resources:

SUS Copts Hymns curriculum 1st grade: http://www.suscopts.org/ssc/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/01st_Grade_Hymns_curriculum_2016.pdf

SoundCloud recording of “Alleluia Fai Pe Pi”: https://soundcloud.com/user-457437655/girls-choir-track-2-alleluia-fai-pe-pi

Meet and Right Podcast episode on the Lord’s Prayer: http://www.coptichymnsinenglish.com/meetandright/ourfather-28g9p

The Lord’s Prayer by St. Cyril of Alexandria: https://www.amazon.com/Lords-Prayer-St-Cyril-Alexandria/dp/194066196X/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=lord%27s+prayer+st+cyril&qid=1571506704&sr=8-1

Girls’ Choir Details/Practice Dates

For all those who are wondering when the practices will be, as well as any additional important information, it is all outlined below! Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions at all!

Welcome to the Girls’ Choir! We are so happy to have you, and so excited to get started! It has been a dream of H.G. Saraphim to start a choir for women to participate in the liturgy more and have a group of individuals that will be an inspiring example to all women in the Church. The goals of our Girls’ Choir will be the following:

  1. To teach the liturgical hymns and responses, as well as lead the congregation with the deacons
  2. To learn more about the church rites and Orthodox theology
  3. To learn Coptic, and be able to sing hymns in Coptic as well as English
  4. To create an opportunity for those women who want to participate more in the liturgy
  5. To facilitate an environment of unity for our whole church 

We will be meeting every other Wednesday of the month, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM. We will NOT meet on holidays. The following are the dates we will meet for the rest of the year:

First Semester Second Semester

Week 1 (10/2) 

Week 2 (10/16)

Week 3 (10/30)

Week 4 (11/13)

THANKSGIVING (no practice 11/27)

Week 5 (12/4)

Week 6 (12/18)

WINTER BREAK (no practice 12/25, 1/1)

Week 7 (1/8)

Week 8 (1/22)

Week 9 (2/5)

Week 10 (2/19)

Week 11 (3/4)

Week 12 (3/18)

Week 13 (4/1) 

HOLY WEEK (no practice 4/15)

Week 14 (4/29)

Week 15 (5/13)

Week 16 (5/27)

Week 17 (6/10)

Week 18 (6/24) 

Every week, we hope to accomplish the following tasks:

  • Pray Agpeya, making it a routine part of our spiritual lives
  • Memorize a Psalm of the Month 
  • Start learning Coptic letters and forming words in context of hymns
  • Learn liturgical rites and explanation of why we do what we do during the liturgy
  • Learn the liturgical responses and hymns, starting from the beginning of the liturgy and will complete the liturgy by the end of the year 

Other items: 

  • Prizes and incentives
  • Hymns retreat at the end of the year (God Willing) 
  • Recordings available on SoundCloud 
  • Other resources to be available on the church website

If you have any further questions and concerns, please contact Juliana Bibawy (st.barbara20@gmail.com) and Jasneet Devgun (jasneetdevgun09@gmail.com) as your primary contacts

Lesson 1

Welcome to the Girls’ Choir!! 

We had an AWESOME first lesson where we learned tons, from Coptic letters to psalms and liturgical rites. What an awesome start to our journey. We are SO proud of our all-star choir members!

Remember…we are a FAMILY! We are all in this together, and we support each other. We are better together, and when we put our talents together, we can do great things.

Here is a recap of what we learned: 

Psalm 122 – in the Coptic Church tradition, this psalm is recited when we are making our way to Liturgy. It’s nice to get our mind focussed and prepared for the great Mysteries that God is going to provide for us. Remember, it’s all about MINDSET. Focus and preparation get you the most out of anything in life, including our spiritual lives.

We memorized the first 10 lines of psalm 122 (verses 1-4):

I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go into the house of the Lord.”
Our feet have been standing
Within your gates, O Jerusalem!

Jerusalem is built
As a city that is compact together,
Where the tribes go up,
The tribes of the Lord,
To the Testimony of Israel,
To give thanks to the name of the Lord.

Next week, we will be memorizing the next set. Get ready!

Coptic letters – We also learned the first 3 letters of the Coptic alphabet. We will be doing 3 letters at a time. This week we learned:

Alpha – 

Coptic Alpha-maj.svg
Coptic Alpha-min.svg

As in “ameen

Vita

Coptic Beta-maj.svg
Coptic Beta-min.svg

This one has 2 pronounciations: “v” in “avva” if it’s in the middle of the word, and “b” as in “ethoab” when at the end

Ghamma – 

Coptic Gamma-maj.svg

Coptic Gamma-min.svg

This has 3 pronunciations (just when you thought it couldn’t get more crazy!): “G” as in “agios”, “gh” as in “Ghavri-eel” (Gabriel). Finally, there is “ng” when there are 2 ghamma’s together, like “angelos”

Liturgical Rites – We learned 2 important spiritual take-home points in this lesson.

  • The Liturgy is a journey to Heaven
    • Every time you set foot into a Liturgy, you’re setting foot into HeavenWhenever we are going to receive something really great, we usually prepare beforehand (e.g. graduation from school, going on a big vacation, getting married, etc). For example, you might find yourself packing your clothes and getting excited as well as preparing mentally for an awesome getaway vacation in the Summer after school is out. For receiving the Eucharist (communion) and being in Heaven with the saints, we also prepare. We put on the heavenly garments, leaving those of the world behind (white robes), and we prepare our minds and our hearts with prayer. Remember, you’re actually with God, with the saints (yes, those that we always talk about!), and you’re with the angels.
  • The true meaning of kyrie eleison
    • Elieson comes from the Greek eleos, which means “oil”In ancient times, and even now, we use oil for its healing properties. We ask God to heal us, since we ourselves are broken and weak and He binds our wounds and makes us whole
    • To find out more, listen to the episode on this from the Meet and Right podcast: http://www.coptichymnsinenglish.com/meetandright/lordhavemercy

We also learned a few interesting facts about the Liturgy:

  • The significance of the bread and the wine
    • Bread: The bread will become the Body of our Lord Jesus Christ during the Liturgy. This shapes (literally) the way we make the bread. In our tradition, we make the bread round, symbolizing the eternal nature of Christ (no beginning or end). It is leavened bread; leaven symbolizes our sin that Christ bears for us. There are 12 crosses for the 12 disciples, a Cross in the center with the Trisagion surrounding it (“Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal”). Finally, there are 5 pierces in the bread, symbolizing the 3 nails (2 for hands, 1 for feet on the cross), crown of thorns, and spear on the side.
    • Wine: The wine will become Jesus’ blood, which is life-giving as He shed this on the Cross. It is mixed with water, both because He did this at the Last Supper and also, when the spear pierced his side, both water and blood came out together.
  • When the priest selects the bread and approves the wine for use in the Liturgy (usually a deacon next to him will smell it to make sure it’s not sour!), we sing kyrie eleison 41 times, to represent the 39 lashes he received before being crucified, the crown of thorns, and the spear on the side. We ask God to heal us with the kyrie eleison when the priest selects the lamb (bread which will become the Body), as we remember that Jesus was the true Lamb who took on our sins.
  • After selected, the priest wraps it in linen, symbolizing His birth in Bethlehem as an infant wrapped in cloth. He then lifts up the Lamb in front of the congregation just as Simeon the Elder lifted Him up when brought into the temple (Luke 2:25-32, we say this in Agpeya 12th hour Gospel as well). He anoints it with water, symbolizing the baptism in the Jordan. He then covers it with the larger linen when we sing the hymn Sotees Ameen (“saved, amen”) symbolizing His crucifixion and death/burial

That’s about all we covered! It was a lot of good stuff!

Remember:

  • Memorize the Psalm of the Month (Psalm 122 for October) for prizes!
  • You can “win” and collect Coptic letter cards when doing well in the class or being seen doing an act of kindness and support

See you next time for more!

Lots of Love, in Christ,

Jasneet + Juju ❤

Resources: 

Southern Diocese Hymns Curriculum

Kindergarten – http://www.suscopts.org/ssc/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/00KG_Grade_Hymns_curriculum_2016.pdf

1st Grade –  http://www.suscopts.org/ssc/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/01st_Grade_Hymns_curriculum_2016.pdf

We have a SoundCloud!: https://soundcloud.com/user-457437655 

Liturgy of St. Basil outline and explanations: http://www.copticchurch.net/topics/liturgy/liturgy_of_st_basil.pdf

Meet and Right Podcast: http://www.coptichymnsinenglish.com/meetandright

About Us

Hi Everyone!

We have been so excited to launch the Girls’ Choir for St. Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church in Columbus, OH. We have been utterly blessed to have had the opportunity to give back to the young beautiful women in our church and equip them with the tools to both enrich their own spiritual lives and those of others around them. Our goal is to make them a shining light to the world and lead others to have an incredible relationship with Christ in this life’s journey.

Please pray for this service! We can use all the prayers we can get so that God can really take hold of this service and take it to new heights. It is not us, but truly Christ who will bring wondering things out of this group!

Let’s sing!

In Christ,

Jasneet + Juliana