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 five small children: Lydia, Paul, Silas, Philip, and Sarah. Presvytera Alexandra grew up attending Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Asheville, North Carolina with her nine siblings.
What’s the best thing you ever did for a friend?
Today, we hear a Gospel reading about four men who did the best thing any of us could do—they helped their friend come closer to Jesus Christ.
In the story, a man who was paralyzed wanted to see Christ, so he could be healed. The problem was that he couldn’t see Christ because there were so many people surrounding Him. Everybody knew that Jesus had the power to heal! So this man’s friends made a hole in the roof, and they lowered their friend through it.
When Christ saw the faith of the four friends, He forgave the paralyzed man of his sins, and later He healed him. The man could walk again!
Even though we probably won’t ever be in that situation, we can still do what the friends did for their sick friend. They helped him see Jesus Christ. We can help our own friends see Christ too. But how? We can try to act like Him. By being kind to others. By being helpful. By not fighting. By being humble. By not gossiping. By showing love to everybody around us. Then, when our friends see us, they will be seeing Christ in us, too!
A WONDER-WORKING ICON The Portaitissa Icon of the Theotokos
Do you have icons in your house? In your family’s car? In your room? Last Sunday, remember, we walked around our church, proudly holding up our icons. We use these icons to remember Christ and His saints. But God sometimes uses icons in other special ways too. Tomorrow we’ll remember an amazing icon called the Portaitissa Icon.
More than a thousand years ago, iconoclasts tried to destroy icons all over the Christian world. A Christian lady kept an icon in her house. Once, these icon-hating men came into her house and stabbed this icon with a spear. Real blood poured out of it!
Then, of course, she knew it was a very special icon. With this miracle, God wanted to show how important icons are to our faith. The lady asked the soldiers to wait until the morning to take it. When they left, she put it in the sea, and it floated away. It floated to Mount Athos, a place in Greece that is filled with monasteries and churches.
This amazing icon has been at a monastery on Mount Athos ever since then. Tomorrow we celebrate this miracle that God worked through this amazing icon.
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