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 do you do when somebody gives you a present? Well, you probably say “thank you!” Then, you might try to repay that person with another present—maybe for a birthday or for Christmas. Sometimes, we might feel like we owe something until we’ve given something equal.
In today’s Gospel reading, we hear a story that Jesus told. It shows us just how much God has given us, even when we haven’t really given anything back! In the story, a servant owes the king lots of money, so much money that he could never, ever repay it. The Bible says he owed 10 thousand talents—scholars say that would be worth about 10 million dollars! Imagine trying to ever repay that! This servant begged the king to forgive him, to help him. And the king did forgive the money. He forgave everything. The man didn’t owe anything anymore.
Later on, we hear how that same servant wouldn’t forgive another person who owed him money too. Jesus wanted to tell us something with this story. He shows us how much God forgives us—yes, every single day! Ten million dollars is a ton of money. And God forgives us for a ton of things! Let’s thank God for forgiving us. We thank Him for loving us, even when we do lots of things wrong. Then, let’s forgive others when they do things wrong to us!
THE BIRTHDAY OF MARY THE HOLY MOTHER OF GOD
Is another school year starting for you? You probably know what you do on the first day of school, maybe even what you wear. Maybe your parents take a picture of you. You probably remember what you do on the last day of school, too, because maybe you look forward to it all year!
A new year has started in our Orthodox Church, too. Our year starts on September 1st. We remember the first great holiday of the year. It’s the birthday of Mary, the Theotokos. Her parents, Saints Joachim and Anna, loved God very much and they prayed for years and years that God would give them a baby. They never gave up on God, even though it took so many years for their prayers to be answered!
The very last great feastday of the year is about Mary, too. (We just celebrated it in August.) It’s her Dormition, when she died and joined her Son, Jesus Christ, in heaven. So, remember the beginning and the end of the year are feastdays for our Holy Mother, because she brought Jesus Christ into the world. We can ask her to bless our school year—from beginning to end!
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