The photo is the Church of the Transfiguration, built in the 18th century on Kizhi Island in Russia. It came up recently as we’ve been homeschooling ... sort of. We’ve been covered up in snow and so, the kids have missed 8 consecutive days of school. We’ve had a great time playing games, working puzzles ... the living room has been converted into a major “fort” dwelling for my daughter. The blankets and sheets strewn over the chairs and coffee table have been in place for 3 days now and I’ve even ventured to crawl through myself joining the company of at least 10 stuffed animals, multitudes of silk flowers, fluffy pillows, a lazy cat and one delighted little girl. I’ve tried to make play time into an opportunity for learning as well.
Today, just outside the blanket fort, we sat and read about the Transfiguration of Christ upon Mt. Tabor. Yesterday the topic was St. Herman of Alaska and the day before that we were creating the distinctive and colorful onion domes atop Orthodox churches out of play-doh. As a guide we used photos from a history book on Russia. Reading about the construction of the domes alone is amazing... and it occurs to me, not for the first time, that architecture truly does inspire our worship.
Since this past Sunday we attended Forgiveness Vespers for the first time, this has also been a topic of conversation this week. I found a very poignant prayer to use... one worth sharing:
“My failure to be true even to my own accepted standards:
My self-deception in the face of temptation:
My choosing of the worse when I know the better:
O Lord forgive.
My failure to apply to myself the standards of conduct I demand of others:
My blindness to the suffering of others, and my slowness to be taught by my own;
My complacence towards wrongs that do not touch my own case and my over-sensitiveness to those that do:
My slowness to see the good in my fellows and to see the evil in myself;
My hardness of heart towards my neighbor’s faults, and my readiness to make allowance for my own:
My unwillingness to believe that Thou hast called me to a small work and my brother to a great one:
O Lord forgive."