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 thought something mean about somebody, even if you didn’t say it out loud? When we think something mean or unkind, it almost sounds like we have said something mean too.
In today’s Gospel reading, we hear about what happens after Jesus helps a sick man. Some of the important teachers heard Jesus talking. The Bible tells us they were “sitting there, questioning in their hearts.” They were thinking to themselves that Jesus was lying! They were thinking that Jesus was saying something He wasn’t! They were feeling these things in their hearts.
But then the Gospel reads, “At once, Jesus knew that they were thinking these questions.” He talked to them. He showed them that He had great power from God. He told the sick man to get up, and he did!
Lots of times, we might have mean thoughts about people. We might think it doesn’t matter, as long as we don’t say them out loud. But as our Lord tells us in the Bible today, our thoughts matter too! When we feel ourselves thinking something mean about somebody, we can say a quick prayer and ask God to help us. We can ask Him to help us be kind to others, out loud and in our hearts!
THE ANNUNCIATION: WHAT DID THE THEOTOKOS HAVE IN HER HEART?
We know that we can think bad thoughts, but we can also think good and holy ones too!
Tomorrow is the great feast of the Annunciation, when we celebrate the good news that the angel told Mary. He told her that she would have a baby. But before that, he greeted Mary, and said, “Rejoice, O favored one, the Lord is with you! Blessed are you among women!”
Nobody had ever greeted her like that before, and the Bible tells us that she was afraid when she heard it. She thought in her heart what it might mean. The angel meant that she was blessed because she was going to have baby Jesus, the Son of God. She was going to carry Him and take care of Him!
Another time in the Bible, we read about how Mary, the Theotokos, kept things in her heart. Later on, we read about Jesus as a young boy, and how she found Him with the teachers in the Temple. The Bible says, “His mother treasured all these things in her heart.”
The Theotokos knew that her Son was special, and she trusted God to make things clear someday. Let’s be like the holy Theotokos, and try to think wonderful things about our Lord, Jesus Christ. Let’s be like her, and not like the teachers in the Gospel today.
We celebrate the Annunciation tomorrow, Mar. 25th (April 7th, 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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