The Joy of the Lord

The Joy of the Lord

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Have you ever been so excited to get somewhere that you ran on your way? Imagine taking a walk to the playground and then taking off running when you saw the park. Sometimes it’s just too hard to wait!

Today we hear the beautiful story of the Prodigal Son. We hear how the young man asks his father for his money. We hear how he wastes all that money. We hear how he feels awful about it, and we hear how he comes back to ask for his father’s forgiveness. Then we hear how happy his father is to see his son again!

Do you know just how excited his father is? The Bible says, “But while he was still far away, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and hugged him and kissed him.” Do you see how excited and happy his father was to see his son? He ran to meet him! He just couldn’t wait.

Now we know this story is really a story about how God loves us, His children, too! When we make mistakes, we can always turn back to our Lord. We can always change the way we’re acting or break the bad habits we have. We can turn back to the Lord, and we can ask for our Father’s forgiveness. Then, He will be like the father in the Prodigal Son story today. He will meet us and welcome us back. God will have that same joy too!

ST. LUKE THE RIGHTEOUS: “God provides”

We’ve all seen beautiful icons, but you can find some of the most amazing ones in the whole world at a monastery in the middle of Greece. This monastery is called “Osios Loukas,” and it is named after St. Luke. (This is a different saint than the one who wrote one of the Gospels. This saint was born in 896, about 1,100 years ago.)

St. Luke the Righteous tried to love God and to trust in Him even when he was little. He came from a poor family, and he worked very hard to help his family. He worked in the fields and he took care of sheep, staying outside in really bad weather. Still, he helped other poor people too. One time, he gave away all the seeds that he was supposed to plant in the fields. He knew that God would take care of him. But what happened? The fields gave more and better crops than St. Luke had ever seen before!

Lots of times, you can see how much people love a person by how they honor him or her. In America, you see some of the greatest monuments to George Washington and some of the presidents. But you can see that the people really love St. Luke the Righteous because his monastery is SO beautiful.

We celebrate St. Luke’s nameday on Wed., February 7th (Feb. 20 OC).

Click here to download your free copy of The Children’s Word.

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.

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Presvytera Alexandra Houck

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.