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 started a project that you thought was going to be really easy, but it actually turned out to be super hard? Maybe you’ve seen your parents do this too. They might say, “This will just take a second!” but then they are still working on it hours later! Sometimes we expect difficult things will be easy.
In our Christian life too, we might think things will be kind of easy. We might think we can just pray a little, and everything will be just fine. We might think Christians should be rich and happy and comfortable. We might even hear some Christians tell that to us!
Did you know that some of the early Christians thought that too? They thought they could relax, they thought they could have everything, they thought the Christian life would be easy. But in today’s epistle reading, we hear what Saint Paul told them. He told the Christians that life wasn’t easy for the apostles. For them, life was so hard! “We are hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clothed and beaten and homeless, and we grow tired from the work of our own hands. We have become like the rubbish of the world…to this very day.” To Saint Paul, that’s what being a Christian was! Life was hard!
If you can, read about some of our saints. For most of them, life was hard. When we try to follow their examples, we are living the Christian life. We are even following Christ’s example too, because life wasn’t so easy for Him either, was it?
THE HOLY TRANSFIGURATION: CHRIST ALWAYS SHOWS US THE WAY!
Has somebody ever shown you how to get somewhere? Let’s say you were a little lost, but you followed somebody who did know where he was going.
Did you know that Christ always shows us the way? Tomorrow we will celebrate the great feastday of the Transfiguration. That’s the day that Christ went up to the top of a mountain with his disciples. When they got there, Jesus suddenly looked very different. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became bright white! The disciples heard a voice from God the Father, too. “This is my beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him!”
Do you know why Christ did this? Do you know why He changed like that? One of the saints of our Church, Saint Anastasios of Sinai (he lived on another mountain!) tells us why. “Jesus goes before us to show us the way, both up the mountain and into heaven.”
St. Anastasios wrote that the Transfiguration was a little taste of heaven for the disciples and for us. If we know (even just a little bit!) how bright and glorious heaven is, we will try even harder to get there! We will try even harder to follow Christ. We will try even harder to change our ways so we can be like Him! Christ shows us the way!
We celebrate the Transfiguration tomorrow, Aug. 6th (August 19th, OC).
Welcome to “The Children’s Word,” a weekly ministry of the Orthodox Christian Network. Each week, Presvytera Alexandra Houck writes this little newsletter for young parishioners! You will find age-appropriate articles, stories, and activities in every edition. The newsletter is provided in PDF format so that you can easily download and print it, and share it with your parish, church school, homeschool, family, and friends.
Each issue includes a message on the Sunday Gospel lesson and on one of the saints for the week. You’ll also find a coloring page and other activities. It is designed for a 8.5 x 14 page, so it can be printed and folded.
Photo credit: Byzantine Art Icons
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