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.
Has anybody ever told you to “be proud”? Sometimes people tell us to be proud of something we have or something we’ve done. When you win a medal or a trophy, somebody might tell you to “be proud of yourself.” But is being proud a good thing?
In today’s Gospel reading, we hear about two men. One of them was very proud of himself. He’s the one who told God all the great things he had done. He had fasted and prayed. He had given money to the poor. He’s the one who talked and talked, all proud of himself. The other man didn’t say anything like that. He just asked, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” Do you know? The Gospel tells us to be like that second man—the one who was so humble.
Sometimes we hear one thing at church, and then we hear another thing everywhere else, don’t we? In the Bible and at church and maybe at home, we hear how we should be humble. We hear how we should say, “Lord, have mercy!” But everywhere else, people tell us to be proud. They tell us, “You’re the best!” They might tell us to show off! Let’s remember this story from the Bible. Let’s remember that God wants us to be like the second man, not the first man. And you can even remember one more thing: Even Jesus, our Lord God, was humble too!
SAINT JOHN THE HARVESTER: Miracles from God
Do you have a nickname? Maybe your friends call you something because of a funny story that happened to you? Sometimes those nicknames can stick with you through your whole life!
On Tuesday, we’ll celebrate Saint John the Harvester (Theristis). How did he get that name? Well, Saint John was a monk who, one day, went out into the fields to work. Suddenly, a storm hit, and all the workers ran away to protect themselves. But when they came back, the corn had been cut and tied up. That miracle gave him the nickname, “the Harvester,” because through his prayers, they harvested the crops!
Saint John lived a thousand years ago in a part of Italy that had lots of Orthodox Christians (most of Italy is Catholic). About 20 years ago, some monks from the holy mountain of Mount Athos decided to fix up the monastery of Saint John the Harvester. So many years later, people still remember Saint John with the nickname “the Harvester,” because they remember that great miracle from God so many years ago!
We celebrate the nameday of St. John on Tuesday, February 23rd.
ABOUT THE ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN NETWORK
OCN offers videos, podcasts, blogs and music, to enhance Orthodox Christian life. We also report on news events in the Orthodox Church and produce This Week in Orthodoxy, a weekly news video with stories and issues of interest to Orthodox Christians around the world.
The Orthodox Christian Network is a commissioned agency of the Assembly of Canonical Orthodox Bishops. Our mission is to comfort, inspire, and inform Orthodox Christians and seekers around the world using digital media. OCN is not underwritten financially by any one organization, jurisdiction, or individual. Rather, OCN is supported entirely by parish and personal donations. Please remember OCN in your parish’s charitable giving. The Orthodox Christian Network is a 501(c)(3) corporation.
$20,000 MATCHING CHALLENGE FOR OUR 20TH ANNIVERSARY
Much like public radio, the Orthodox Christian Network relies on the support of our listeners. Anonymous donors have issued a $20,000 matching challenge in honor of OCN’s 20th Anniversary! For every $1 you give, $2 will be donated! You can send your gift by direct mail, over the phone, or on our website.
OCN Spark is here! Our Spark app is an Orthodox Christian News portal that allows you to take action. Spark provides daily devotions, live Bible study, and you can read and learn about events going on in the Orthodox Christian world and persecuted Christians. In addition to making it easy to share news and articles with friends, Spark allows you make prayer requests for those who are suffering. Click here to download OCN Spark from iTunes.