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.
Do you have a secret hiding place, where you keep some of your special things? Maybe you keep a favorite toy, a diary, or some candy—all because you don’t want your brother or sister to take it! We all want to keep our treasures staying nice, and away from people who might get into it!
In the Gospel reading today, we hear what our Lord, Jesus Christ, Himself said about taking care of our treasure. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
So you see, we might try hard to keep our treasure on earth nice. But the things we want to keep nice here might get destroyed, or somebody might take them. Our Lord tells us that the real treasure is heaven, and when we have that, nobody can take it away. That’s the treasure that really matters. So we can try hard every day to get that real treasure—to be with God forever in heaven. How do we do that? We can try hard to love God and to love the people around us! Our Lord is happy to give us the treasure of life in heaven!
LEARNING FROM OUR ELDERS: ST. POLYCARP OF SMYRNA
Have you ever asked a grandparent or another older person about what life was like 50 or even 75 years ago? Maybe you asked about a war long ago, or even about how he lived and played as a child. We can always learn interesting things from people who are much older than we are—they’ve seen things and done things we never have!
This week, we celebrate the nameday of a saint who learned from his elders too. Saint Polycarp was born about 70 years after Jesus was born. St. Polycarp learned from St. John, the Apostle and friend of Christ. And you know, St. John learned from our Lord Jesus Christ Himself! Polycarp learned to love God very much, even when he was little. Later on, he became a priest and then a bishop. He was very close to God, and people came to him because they knew God heard his strong prayers!
Polycarp died about 150 years after Christ’s birth. The emperor at that time hated Christians, and he killed many faithful people. Polycarp stayed close to Christ though—and now he is still close to Him in heaven!
We still have some things that Polycarp wrote, and this is almost 1900 years later. So if you read them, you are listening to somebody who lived just after the time of Christ!
We celebrate St. Polycarp on Friday, Feb. 23rd (March 8, 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: English-Language Thoughts
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