Presvytera Alexandra Houck created The Children's Word bulletin so children will know they are not only welcome in church, but even more, an essential part of the Church family. She hopes the weekly bulletin will be just one more way we can make kids feel at home in church. Presvytera Alexandra is a graduate of Duke University and Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology. Her husband, Fr. Jason Houck, is a priest at St. Mary's Greek Orthodox Church in Minneapolis, MN. Presvytera Alexandra and Fr. Jason have three small children: Lydia, Paul, and Silas. Presvytera Alexandra grew up attending Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Asheville, North Carolina with her nine siblings.
Have you ever been really excited about getting something new? New clothes, a new toy, maybe some new school supplies this year. It’s fun to have something fresh and clean and new.
In today’s epistle reading, Saint Paul tells how people could become Christians. He wrote, “A new creation is everything!” A new creation is everything, and we Christians become new creations when we are baptized and become full members of the Church. You might not be able to see it on the outside, but things are different when you are a new creation, a new Christian.
When we get something new—like a pair of shoes, for example—we might throw out the ratty, old things that we had before. Then, we make sure we take good care of our new things. We want to keep our new things fresh and clean. If you scuff up a new pair of shoes, you kind of feel bad, don’t you?
When we are baptized, we want to take good care of our new self. We try to make good choices so we stay clean (on the inside). We can look to our Lord, Jesus Christ, who was and is the cleanest of us all! We can look to the saints who struggled to keep clean. A new creation is everything! Let’s try to keep it that way!
“LET MY BODY BECOME A CHURCH”: ST. THEODORA OF VASTA
You’ve played with blocks, haven’t you? You might build a tower or another structure. It might look good at first, but it collapses if you don’t build it right! Do you want to know how God used a building to tell people about one of His saints, Saint Theodora?
St. Theodora lived a thousand years ago, in a little town called Vasta, in southern Greece. When she was a young woman, lots of robbers came into her town to steal things and hurt people. St. Theodora wanted to help her town and her neighbors, so she dressed as a soldier and tried to fight. She died on the field there. When she was dying, she said, “Let my body become a church, my hair a forest of trees, and my blood a spring to water them.”
Now, if you visit the little town of Vasta, you can see an amazing church. It has 17 big trees that poke through the roof! A spring flows under the church and waters the trees. Scientists have tried to explain how this works! The trees are so heavy, and the church is so small. Anybody would think the church would topple over like that. But people come from all over to visit this church and to pray to Saint Theodora. With this interesting church, God shows faithful Christians how His saint is holy! Many people have learned how amazing Saint Theodora was, just by seeing her amazing church!
We celebrate the nameday of Saint Theodora on Sept. 11th (Sept. 24th, OC).
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