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.
Do you have a flashlight or a candle? What does it look like when you shine it in a dark room? When you bring it into the room, the darkness instantly goes away. Everything looks different.
Today, and for the next few weeks, you might hear a beautiful hymn at church. It starts, “It is the day of the Resurrection. Let us shine brightly for the festival…”
How can we shine brightly? We can wear our best, our fanciest clothes. We can hold candles. But the hymn tells us how we can shine the brightest way of all. We can hug one another. We can forgive one another (even people who really don’t like us!) We can tell each other the good news that Christ rose from the dead.
Christ is risen! You know that, of course, but we love to say it again and again. When we tell each other the good news, “Christ is risen!” we shine brightly.
Just like when you shine a flashlight or a candle in a dark room, when we have the good news of “Christ is risen!” everything is different! We are full of joy. Then, we can shine brightly too!
THE LIFE-GIVING SPRING: A FEAST OF MARY, THE THEOTOKOS
Have you ever seen a waterfall? The water spills over and over from the top, and it never seems to end!
On the Friday after Pascha (Easter), we celebrate the feast of the “Life-Giving Spring.” The icon is kind of strange. In the icon, you see Mary, the Theotokos, in a fountain, with water flowing out of it!
Once, more than 1,500 years ago, Emperor Leo (but before he became emperor) tried to help a blind man find water. Leo heard a voice telling him where to go. He found a spring, flowing with water. He put some of the water on the blind man and the man suddenly could see.
Later, Emperor Leo built a big church over the spring, and he dedicated it to the Theotokos, the Mother of our Lord. Lots of sick people came to the spring and came back all better.
We remember this special church, because we know that Mary, the Theotokos, always gives life to us. She is like a waterfall, because her help flows and flows, and it never seems to end. It was Mary who became the mother of God. And today, on Easter, He gave life to us, too!
You might have a friend named Zoe. Do you? Her name means “life” in Greek, and every year, on Bright Friday, we celebrate her nameday.
We celebrate the feast of the Life-giving Spring this year on Friday, April 21st.
Photo credit: Ariadne: Resources for Athenaze
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