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Christian Resources for Worship in Schools

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Oh, Brother!

Today we think about two brother saints who were united in love of God and bringing the good news of Jesus to people in Eastern Europe: Cyril and Methodius. Their feast day is February 14.

Opening Activities

Prepare a series of separate cards, each with the names of various well known brothers.
For example:
Phil and Grant (from Eastenders) fictional
William and Harry (the princes!)
Bobby and Jack (Charlton) footballers
Ed and David (Milliband) politicians
Rio and Anton (Ferdinand) footballers
Charlie (Sheen) and Emilio (Estevez)
Jon and Peter (Snow) newsreaders
David and Richard (Dimbleby) broadcasters
John and David (Suchet) newsreader and actor

Choose appropriate ones according to the age group of the assembly. Ask for several volunteers, corresponding to the number of brothers. Give a card to each volunteer and ask them to find their brother! How did they do? Did everyone know all of those brothers? Were there some that they didn't know? What are the brothers famous for? What work do they do?

Those are just a selection of famous brothers we have known in recent times! Some real, others fictional. Today we celebrate the memory of two brothers who in their own day were really well known. Their names are...wait for it… Cyril and Methodius. (You may want to prepare a similar cards as above for each of the brothers)

Another Pair of Brothers
Methodius was a year older than Cyril. They were born in the 9th century in Thessalonika. Both of them had the same job, as it were, because both of them were monks. Which means that they lived a life of prayer and study within a community of monks in a Monastery: in other words, their life revolved around God. Their whole lives spoke of God’s love.

Cyril was very good with languages and whilst they were both living in a monastery in Bosphorus (Turkey) they were asked to go to the Khazars (who lived in what is known much of Modern day Russia, Kazakhastan, Ukraine, Aserbaijan etc) on a mission...and his brother went with him. They were so successful there—they had learned the language first—that they were asked to go to Moravia to do the same thing. (Moravia is a part of Eastern Europe that now incorporates the east of the Czech Republic). However some people were extremely suspicious of their mission and they were sent to Rome to see the Pope! The Pope, however, was more than happy with their work and he told them to carry on doing what they were doing. However, whilst in Rome, Cyril died and Methodius carried on the mission the both of them had started. They spoke to people in their own language. They helped people to worship God in their own language. They translated important prayers and the books of the Bible.

It’s a good job you can choose your friends...
There is a saying often used: it's a good job you can choose your friends because you can't choose your family. People say this when they find family life or members of their family rather difficult. Whether or not that is the case Cyril and Methodius discovered one thing that united them and drew them closer together: their love of God. They lived the same life. They worked together, prayed together, studied together. They followed Jesus together. And together, they shared the good news of Jesus with people in other lands.

Yes, they were good with languages and keen to speak to people in their own language but, in fact, their whole lives spoke of Gods love for the whole world. They have been nicknamed ‘Apostles to the Slavs’ because they took the good news of Jesus to the people in that region of Eastern Europe. Cyril and Methodius spoke of God. What does your life say?

Reflection
How do our lives speak to others?
What does our work say about us?
Are we suspicious or jealous of others when we see them doing good things?
Are we friends with our family? Do we think of our friends as family?

Prayer
God our Father,
help us to speak clearly to others:
may our whole lives echo with the good news of Jesus.

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