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.
Have you ever read a book that reminds you of another one? Sometimes we hear a story and we remember another one like it we’ve heard before.
Today the Gospel reading tells us the story of the feeding of the five thousand. Do you remember this one? Do you remember how our Lord talked to the people, and then He fed them with just five loaves of bread and two fish? With just a little bit of food, Jesus had enough food to feed 5,000 men, plus women and children!
AND did you know there was even food left over after that? The Gospel tells us that after they all ate and were filled, the disciples, “picked up the pieces left over—twelve wicker baskets full.” The word that we hear, “pieces” is “klasmata” in Greek. And, that is the same exact word we hear in another place. In our Church, we hear the word “klasmata,” or “pieces” in something that was written just a few years after the apostles lived. This was called the Didache, and it told the new Christians how to worship. When we hear the word “klasmata” there, it’s talking about the broken bread of Holy Communion!
So when we hear this wonderful miracle story of the feeding of the 5,000, we also think about the wonderful miracle we have every time we receive Holy Communion. The bread is the Body of Christ, and there is enough for everybody!
WHAT DOES “INTERCEDE” MEAN? AND WHY DO WE NEED IT?
Have you ever tried to help a two year old do something? He usually ends up saying, “I want to do it by myself!”
Sometimes we sound like that, too! We want to do things all by ourselves. We want to do big things, important things, hard things. But we don’t want help. We want to do it all by ourselves.
For the first two weeks of August, we try hard to remember that we have a helper who is looking out for us. The Theotokos, the Mother of God, is our helper. During the special church services, we say again and again, “Most Holy Theotokos, intercede for us” or “Pray for us.” We want her to ask her Son to help us.
This week, on the 15th, we remember how Mary, the Theotokos, died and went to heaven. She is so close to her Son there! She has a special relationship with Him, and He listens especially to her. When she asks Him for something, He listens. So, when she “intercedes,” she tries to persuade Him to do something for us.
Let’s not be like a two year old! It’s better to ask for help, especially when it is from the holy Theotokos!
We celebrate the Dormition on Thursday, Aug. 15 (Aug. 28th, 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.
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