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 looked into another car, as you were riding along? Maybe you noticed another driver talking on his or her phone. Maybe somebody was even texting a message or putting on makeup or eating a burrito— all while driving 70 miles an hour down the road! Doing things like that are dangerous, and sometimes accidents happen because people aren’t paying attention to the road.
Did you know that we have to pay attention in our spiritual lives too? There are lots of things that might distract us, and then we aren’t paying attention to what really matters—our God and our neighbors!
In today’s epistle reading, we hear what Saint Paul says. “Keep alert, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong.” Saint Paul knew that it was hard for the new Christians to stay focused on God, because there were lots of things that could distract them. But he told them, “Keep alert” or “pay attention”!
We might have things that keep us from focusing on God, too. Things like clothes or money or video games or even sports and friends can keep us from paying attention! But let’s always try to “keep alert” and stay focused on our Lord. We love Him and He loves us, too!
SAINTS ADRIAN AND NATALIA: THE FAITH OF MARTYRS
Do you know what a martyr is? In our Church, a martyr is somebody who has died for his or her faith. Many Christians have been hurt and even killed because they chose to follow God. But do you really know what a martyr is?
Well, the word “martyr” means “witness”—that means these Christians were showing other people how to be a Christian! They were showing how to stay strong, even when the rulers hurt them and threatened them, and when they did all kinds of awful things to them.
Today we celebrate two martyrs, Adrian and Natalia, along with 23 more of their friends. Saint Adrian was not always a Christian. Actually, he was one of the rulers, and he was supposed to punish Christians. Once, he found some Christians hiding in a cave, and Adrian did hurt these people. Then he asked them why they kept their faith after all that. These Christians told Adrian that they wanted to be with God in heaven forever! They were witnesses and martyrs because they showed Adrian how to stay strong in their faith.
After that Adrian became a Christian too, and he found out that his wife, Natalia, was a secret Christian! Adrian and Natalia were hurt and even killed for their faith. But now, they are with God in heaven forever, too!
We celebrate Sts. Adrian and Natalia today, Aug. 26th (Sept. 8th, 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.
Photo Credit: everythingLubbock.com
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