Impossible as it is to believe, we’re only a handful of weeks away from Trinity Sunday, and thus from the end of this program year. Our time in Children’s Chapel has centered on worship, joy, and community. We made murals and prayed our Anglican Prayer Beads. We sang hymns in rounds and other canons. We learned about what we really need to worship in community – bread, wine, water, oil, scripture, people, and a bishop – and we tried to lend our care mostly to those elements. We studied the Books of the Bible in depth: learning their names, their structures, and a little about what they each offer. We carefully located the stories we explored within that sacred library: when we read from The Gospel According to John, for example, we found John in our gorgeous wooden Bible. We parsed the Lord’s Prayer phrase-by-phrase, exploring the meaning of each word, as well as the prayer’s scriptural origin. We moved through the lectionary in pace with you downstairs, reading at turns from the NSRV, a youth version of that translation, and various children’s Bibles. We told stories using Godly Play and a multitude of meditative approaches, with guides reading to children and children reading to one another. We offered context, history, insights, and lots of questions. We memorized psalms, prayed our own Prayers of the People, grappled with the events and emotions of the Triduum, and noticed God in both the snow and the sunshine out our third-floor windows. We worshiping together as a young but mighty community of Christ’s followers.
As individuals and as a community, our parish kiddos embraced the challenge of reverence. I hope the stories the children have to tell will give you a sense of the worship in which we engaged, and the mystery for which we made space. I want to thank everyone who took the time to gather with us upstairs this year: your presence was a gift to our children, and to our parish.
The Summer Ahead
Of course, our kids are not just their own community; they are a part of ours at large. Summer offers a nice opportunity to embrace the fullness of this fact. So beginning Sunday, May 29th, kids will start each liturgy with their family. They’ll be present for the opening hymn and acclamation, the collects, and the readings. Then they’ll join the deacon for the Gospel procession. They’ll follow the torch bearers, who will come down the side aisles and back up the center. This plan was born of our recognition that even before liturgy is words, it is movement. The Gospel procession is a celebration and enactment of Christ’s constant movement towards us. We see this in Galatians 4:4-5:
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children.
God sent his Son so that we might receive adoption. As such, the Gospel procession is a celebration. Having our children join Deacon Greg is a way of making us more aware of this joy, and of recognizing the important message it communicates. Further, having the kiddos gathered around Deacon Greg as he reads the Gospel will help us – adults and children – stay aware that the Holy Gospel belongs to us all.
After the reading, the deacon will lead the kids out of the church and to the library, where I’ll offer a small children’s sermon, and Jan Tucker (with her guitar) will lead us in song. When there’s time, we’ll also do a little art, a prayer, or some movement. As has been our habit, we’ll return at the Exchange of Peace.
Having the children present for the start of church will no doubt be an adjustment, but it stands to offer a deepening of the spiritual formation they’ve undertaken all program year, and an opportunity for us to worship alongside them, witnessing their spiritual growth and sharing ours with them. I look joyfully forward to a summer’s worth of liturgy, fellowship, and light.