Steadfast Moms

Lord, keep us steadfast in Thy Word;
Curb those who fain by craft and sword
Would wrest the Kingdom from Thy Son
And set at naught all He hath done.

1393_10100135798032022_1149503005_n Rolf and I are honored to have 2 of our grandchildren nearby. Their ages are 2 1/2 and 1. Generally, these are not the most pious ages to have sitting with you in church. Sitting and holding those precious children in church brings back memories! I remember bringing to church ‘the shut-up meal’ (cheerios with some fruit loops mixed in) for sermon time. It was only for the 3 and under. If that didn’t keep them quiet, I would ask one of the older boys to take out the little rascal to the Church nursery. I was careful not to assign the task to the same brother every time. There were times I would have to take the baby out of church so I took the task of taking the rascal out myself. What I remember the most is being determined to stay in church!

The Divine Service is especially meant for mothers with young children! A mother with small children during a church service needs to teach by example about what is happening. Jesus is talking to us! And Christians are listening and responding to Jesus. It is unfortunate that often times the order of services is changed from Sunday to Sunday requiring holding a bulletin or hymnal to follow along. A mother is lucky to have a hand available to do this. It is very difficult to teach by example when there is so much to juggle with young children. Having the liturgy of the service memorized gives the family the ability to help each other to focus on what is happening. Jesus is talking and we are listening and praising Him. The biggest task in teaching children is to get them to understand that they are not the center of attention. In Church, Jesus is the center of attention.

I did not like sending or taking children to the Church nursery. When a child wanted to be the center of attention, I sang the liturgy, kept my eyes on the Pastor determined to impress upon the child that this is not his time for attention, hoping my voice covered his voice and he would quickly know to be quiet! Often, swaying, rocking, firmly holding an arm or whatever, I sang! I am very thankful that I had the liturgy memorized so I could multitask encouraging the children to pay attention in church. I didn’t have enough arms and hands to hold the order of Service to follow along! Fortunately, I somehow succeeded to impress upon the older siblings to understand what it meant to be in church so that they were a great help in setting the example to their younger siblings.

The Sunday morning Church Service is the high point of the week for the Christian family. The Christian family goes to Church to be welcomed as God’s children through baptism, to repent of their sins, to receive forgiveness for their sins, for wisdom, comfort, encouragement, and strength so that they can face another week in the sinful world that threatens to destroy and tempt them away from Jesus. The Christian family is the sheep and lambs who learn and listen to their Good Shepherd. If the Christian family fail to listen and learn to their Good Shepherd they are likely to wander and lose their way from the pasture that feeds them with the marks of the Church. The Word and Sacraments that Jesus feed us give the forgiveness of sins. Where there is forgiveness of sins, there is life and salvation. When Christian families are nurtured with these gifts from Jesus they are blessed with peace and joy!

Lord Jesus Christ Thy pow’r make known
For Thou art Lord of lords alone,
Defend Thy Christendom that we
May evermore sing praise to Thee.

O Comforter of priceless worth,
Send peace and unity on earth.
Support us in our final strife
And lead us out of death to life.


Steadfast Moms — 8 Comments

  1. Thanks for sharing these thoughts and ideas. I’m a new mom, I just have one 1 year old so far, and I try to keep her focused on Jesus by sitting up front, holding her to face forward, and participating as completely as I can. I worry sometimes about how things will go once we have another one. This article is encouraging to me, thank you.

  2. @Andrew Preus #2

    The mothers and fathers, sons and daughters of the congregations– the baptized faithful– these are the seekers who should be the primary focus of Word and Sacrament ministry in the local congregation, rather than the supposed “seekers” of the world at large. The familiar rhythm of Word and Sacrament in our historic liturgy is not only helpful in its method of delivering grace to mothers with their hands full, but also in catechizing the young who are filling their hands. Innovation and constant change is not.

    I found it a good reminder, to the tend the sheep. That is all I intended.

  3. Thank you for this wonderful reminder for all of us! It brought back a flood of memories from my own two children, now in their 30s. I, too, have grandchildren who occasionally attend Divine Service with us (they live an hour away and attend another LCMS church). I have always been a proponent of teaching by modeling the desired behavior and have on numerous occasions shared this philosophy with young parents. The child does not need the ability to read in order to follow along with the service; the act of pointing to the words of the hymns and liturgy are part of that learning process. (At one time not long ago, my adult son explained to me that his earliest lessons in music were taught to him from the church pew!)
    The second, and perhaps more important, reminder for me was to support our parents of young children by, once again, setting an example. It is much too easy when a little person catches your attention and want to play “peek-a-boo” or other cute behaviors. No, we are to act as a family, a community, and reinforce the correct participation during this most important time of the week. So, as a mother and a grandmother, thank you!

  4. As the mom of a 9 year old, whose daughter has been in church almost Every Sunday of her life, I always appreciate hearing FROM THE PULPIT how my little one is welcome and wanted in church and then Pastor Poppe finishing that thought with “I can speak over a little voice any day”.

    I always wanted Sarah there but, when you are a mom worried about potential looks or thoughts or comments from others it was a good reminder for me and gave me comfort that others were being reminded too!

    It amazes me too how our young ones learn the literary too!


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