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.
You’ve held a real Bible in your hands, haven’t you? Have you ever noticed how thin the pages are? That’s because it’s a huge book, and the thin pages make the book not so heavy!
Did you know there are about 780,000 words in the Bible? Most of those words are from the Old Testament, the part before Christ was born. They give the Law (the many rules that the faithful people had to follow). They give the words of the Prophets, too. The Prophets are the people who God asked to speak for Him.
In church, we mostly read the part of the Bible about Jesus Christ, about His life and death and resurrection, and also about how the Christian Church started. But the Old Testament is important too!
In today’s Gospel reading, Christ Himself said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” Christ didn’t come with a new religion. He didn’t come to throw away the Old Testament. He came to make it even better. The Old Testament is a big deal for our Orthodox Church. When we read it, we learn more about Christ—what He did for us, and what He taught us!
SAINT ELIJAH (ELIAS): A PROPHET OF GOD
We have saints who lived even before Jesus Christ did! The great prophet Elijah (or Elias, in Greek) lived almost 900 years before Christ was born, but he did important things for our Church even then!
Long ago, before Christ was born, lots of people started to worship an idol god called Baal. Lots of times they worshipped golden statues of Baal. God told Elijah to tell the people not to do this— God wanted the people to worship Him, the TRUE God.
So Elijah (or Elias) listened to God. He told the people, “If the Lord is God, follow Him. But if he is Baal, then follow him.” We all know that the Lord is God!
Elijah did lots of things during his life. One time, Elijah had to live out in the wilderness, because the King was after him. God sent ravens to feed him there. Then he went to visit a poor widow. He asked her for some food, and she didn’t have much left. Elijah told her that her bucket of flour and her bottle of oil would not run out. And it didn’t! As much as she emptied it, it would still be full!
Even though this saint lived so long ago, he still reminds us that God wants us to follow Him only!
We celebrate St. Elijah this Friday, July 20th (August 2nd, 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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