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.
Did you ever get a toy for a present…but you didn’t have batteries for it? What happened? It didn’t work, did it? Your toy needed something to give it power to go, to really work.
In today’s epistle reading, we find out what makes the Church go. We find what gives the Church strength, what gives it life. That power is the Holy Spirit!
In the reading, we hear how Saint Paul visited some followers of John the Baptist. He asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they answered, “No, we have never even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” These believers knew about baptism. They followed Saint John the Baptist. They knew about Jesus Christ. But they hadn’t even heard of the Holy Spirit.
Saint Paul baptized them. Then the Holy Spirit came on them.
In our Church, we still need the Holy Spirit too. We can build a church building, but we need the Holy Spirit to give us life. We can have the Bible, but we need the Holy Spirit to use it. We can read the Creed, but we need the Holy Spirit to help us to have faith. We need the Holy Spirit to give us power to go, to really work…like the batteries in your toys!
SAINT THEOPHAN: THE RECLUSE
You’ve heard of the scary Brown Recluse spider, haven’t you? It’s a poisonous spider that likes to be left alone. Nobody likes those, but recluses can be good, too! This week we’ll celebrate the feastday of Saint Theophan the Recluse. He’s named after Theophany, the feastday we celebrated yesterday.
St. Theophan was a Russian saint who spent the last 20 years of his life all by himself, not talking or visiting almost anybody!
But what did St. Theophan do when he was all by himself? Mostly, he prayed! He wrote books too, so that he could help people who needed advice. St. Theophan taught many people how to do what St. Paul told us to do. St. Paul told us to “pray without stopping.” St. Theophan wrote about how we can do that!
What do YOU do when you are all by yourself? Watch TV? Play on the computer? We read about the saints so that we can be like them. Can you try to be like St. Theophan sometimes, too? When you are alone, take some time to pray, to ask God to help you, your family, your friends, and even your enemies!
We celebrate St. Theophan on Wednesday, January 10th (Jan. 23 OC).
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