LCMS Worship has released an updated resource known as “Kids in the Divine Service,” as it works to encourage and support engaging family members of all ages in Divine Worship.
The resource — a series of bulletin inserts in PDF format, largely organized by seasons of the church year — is free from the LCMS website.
Written by the Rev. Christopher I. Thoma, pastor of Our Savior Evangelical Lutheran Church and School in Hartland, Mich., the inserts feature detail on the liturgy, sanctuary, vestments and other aspects of the Divine Service. They are suitable for use in worship bulletins, Sunday school and school or church newsletters.
To download, share, and print “Kids in the Divine Service,” visit lcms.org/worship/youth-in-worship.
“[Kids in the Divine Service] was developed precisely to help introduce children to the Divine Service and the life of the liturgy, living at the receiving end of God’s good gifts,” explained the Rev. William Weedon, director of LCMS Worship.
Weedon added that while some of the vocabulary and concepts are best suited for children 10 years of age and older, the resource also can be understood and appreciated by younger children, with some help from their parents.
“The Divine Service is for children, too,” said Thoma. “I think of it as a language. How do children learn to communicate? By being among those who speak and practice the language. When we were baptized into Jesus Christ, we were brought into a community that speaks a certain way — the Lord’s way, His Word way — and with that, the various elements that make up the Divine Service — Kyrie, Agnus Dei, paschal candle, kneeling, etc. — are nothing short of the expression of the community’s identity through word and action. ‘Kids in the Divine Service’ … seeks to lead children and parents into the depths of the whole language at the heart of the community.”
Weedon said he feels it is critically important to engage children in the liturgy of the Church in a meaningful and lasting way, and that “Kids in the Divine Service” helps to accomplish that end.
“Take any small children and contemplate their way of absorbing things,” said Weedon. “You soon realize the vast importance of repetition. They’ll nail you if you try to leave out a page or two of their favorite story. Children, by and large, love ritual, they love repetition and being able to anticipate what comes next. The liturgy itself is the most child-friendly thing the Church has to offer, particularly because they learn to sing and pray it before they can even read, merely by the weekly repetition. Do they understand it all? Of course not! And that is where ‘Kids in the Divine Service’ kicks in with helping them to understand what they already experience. It’s just a teasing taste of a lifetime of unpacking the goodies the Church serves up to all her children in the yearly round.”
More details on family-oriented offerings from LCMS Worship will be available at the Institute on Liturgy, Preaching and Church Music, July 25-28 at Concordia University Chicago in River Forest, Ill. For information about the institute, visit lcms.org/worshipinstitute.
Posted June 21, 2017