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 gotten some advice from one person…but then you heard it from another person too? Maybe your parents told you one thing, and then your grandparents or your teachers said it too.
In today’s Gospel reading, we hear about the very beginning of our Lord’s work, His ministry. When Jesus began to preach and to teach, He said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He told the people to say they were sorry for the wrong things they had done. He told them to get ready for God to be with them. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
Jesus wasn’t the first person to say this. Just last week, we heard that Saint John the Baptist said the same thing! Saint John told the people, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Get ready, he told them. Saint John and Jesus told the same advice, the same story. The saints of our church tell the same story that Christ did.
The saints are all on the same page. They tell the same message. They know what God wants from us. Our Lord wants us to get ready for Him. Our Lord wants us to be with Him! We hear the same story from Saint John that we hear from Christ. We hear the same message from all the faithful saints of our Church. Let’s try to listen to all of them!
THE CHAINS OF SAINT PETER
Have you celebrated a saint’s day? Your nameday, or a friend’s? Did you know that sometimes we celebrate feastdays for events, things that happened in our Church’s long history?
Have you heard the story of St. Peter’s chains? St. Peter was busy in Rome, telling people all about Christ—and lots of people were becoming Christians. Lots of people were learning to believe in Jesus Christ and getting baptized, too.
The king did not like this, and so he threw St. Peter into prison. He was chained up, with a prison guard on each side of him. Did he have any chance of escaping? Not at all! But during the night, an angel told St. Peter to get up. The chains fell from him, and St. Peter left the prison cell!
But what happened to the chains? Christians knew that these chains were special because they had once touched St. Peter. They were all a part of this big miracle that God had let happen. So they brought sick people to touch the chains, and they were healed!
You can still find these chains at a church in Rome, Italy. Don’t miss them! If you see them one day, you’ll remember this wonderful miracle. And you’ll remember that nobody can stop the power of God!
We celebrate this feastday on Tuesday, January 16th (Jan. 29 OC).
Photo credit: St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church
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