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 heard somebody say, “Say what you mean, and mean what you say!”? We want to be truthful about what we say, don’t we?
In the epistle reading today, Saint Paul tells us how important it is to mean what you say! He writes, “The word is near you, on your lips and in your heart…because if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” What you really believe (what’s in your heart) should be what you say out loud (what’s on your lips).
Sometimes we might say things that we don’t really mean. And sometimes we don’t speak up when we really do mean something. Today, we hear how Saint Paul reminds us that our heart and our lips go together: What you say “on your lips” is what is “in your heart.”
We hear what a wonderful thing God gives us, when we say that “Jesus is God” and when we believe that He rose from the dead. What is it that God promises us? We will be saved! We will be given life forever with Him. Let’s pray that God will help us have strong faith so that our lips and our heart always do go together…that they both show that our Lord Jesus rose from the dead! They we will say what we mean, and mean what we say!
SAINT OLGA: A PRINCESS WITH A MISSION
If you were a princess or prince, what would you do? Maybe the first thing you might think about are the fancy clothes, the fancy dinners, the fancy trips. But this week we remember a saint who saw past these things.
Saint Olga was the princess of Kiev more than 1,100 years ago. She ruled over what is now Russia, Ukraine, and more. Now, the people there are almost all Orthodox Christians. But then, things were different. Most people were pagan— they did not worship our one, true God.
Once, Saint Olga visited the great city of Constantinople. She learned about the Christian Church and wanted to be baptized. Then, she went back to Kiev (where she lived), and took care of her grandsons. Many years later, one of her grandsons, Vladimir, became emperor. He remembered the faith of his grandmother, and then Vladimir was baptized, too! Thousands of people were baptized with him.
We know that Saint Olga had a great mission in life—to teach others about the true faith she knew. But what would have happened if she had had a different mission, a mission to have fancier clothes and jewelry, fancier dinners, and more?
Over the years, millions and millions of people have worshipped God as Orthodox Christians, thanks to this princess with a mission—St. Olga!
We celebrate the nameday of Saint Olga on July 11th (July 24th OC).
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