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

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