What makes a good “learning” liturgy forâ€¨children?
• The setting is used regularly during worship.
• The accompaniment doesn’t overwhelm the melody during worship. Children hear best with no accompaniment or with simple, quiet accompaniment.
• The setting is singable for children.
• The music pitches aren’t too low.
• The structure is songlike.
• The setting has meaning to adults (passion communicates more than words).
• The setting’s melodies “stick.”
• Stand Up, Sit Down, Sing, Pray…: Why We Do What We Do in Lutheran Worship by Patty Thisted Arthur (CSS Publishing, 1999; available from www.amazon.com).
• Sunday Morning by Gail Ramshaw (Liturgical Training Publications, 1993).
• Life Together, Lifesongs Songbook (Augsburg Fortress, 1999).
• Exploring Our Lutheran Liturgy by Dennis R. Fakes (CSS Publishing, 1994; available from www.amazon.com).
• God’s Children: Teaching Liturgy to Children by Debbie Lou Lodolph (Worship & Spirituality site of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada: www.worship.ca, 1999).
• From Augsburg Publishing House: Lutheran Book of Worship (1978) and Lutheran Book of Worship: Minister’s Desk Edition (1989). (Available from www.augsburgfortress.org.)
• From Augsburg Fortress: Manual on the Liturgy: Lutheran Book of Worship, Philip H. Pfatteicher and Carlos R. Messerli (1979) and With One Voice: A Lutheran Resource for Worship (1995).
I have a memory—perhaps it’s of one particular
Sunday. More likely, it’s a collection of many Sundays rolled into one.
I’m 4 or 5 years old and in church with my family. Everyone is singing
the liturgy—so am I.
A few years ago I returned to the church of my childhood—this time with my husband and two children. The music and some of the words had changed, but the repetitive order felt comforting, secure and purposeful.
One Sunday during worship while comforting my infant son in the church library, I noticed the Sunday school hymnal from my childhood. Opening it, I had a powerful revelation: It was no accident that I knew the liturgy at a young age. Caring adults in my congregation wanted children—wanted me—to learn the liturgy.
This was the impetus for teaching my children and others the liturgy (see “My View,” page 11 in the print edition). Liturgy and little ones do go together. After all, their lives are also about routines, rituals and rhythm.
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