A Little Liturgical Victory, by Pastor Rossow

Sometimes it’s the little things that can mean so much.

We had a little girl in kindergarten become ill this morning. Her mother had to come to pick her up. She told the teacher that she was sorry that she would miss getting ashes put on her head at our Early Childhood Chapel later in the day. The teacher talked to Pastor Schumacher and he arranged to have her “ashed” before she went home to recuperate.

For the last several years we have had a simplified but still liturgical weekly chapel service for the early childhood children in our school. They learn to make the sign of the cross, some of the simpler versicles and responses and other parts of the liturgy. Apparently it is paying off. I am also pleased when we do Matins or Morning Prayer on an occasional Sunday to hear the children of the day school leading the congregation in the liturgy. The day school children sing it more than their parents because they have it every Wednesday in chapel. Also of note is that they sing the liturgy better than they used to sing the “praise songs” that were used in our chapel several years ago. (Thank you Principal Pam Mueller for helping us promote the liturgy in the day school.)

Ah, the little things can be so sweet.

About Pastor Tim Rossow

Rev. Dr. Timothy Rossow is the Director of Development for Lutherans in Africa. He served Bethany Lutheran Church in Naperville, IL as the Sr. Pastor for 22 years (1994-2016) and was Sr. Pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran in Dearborn, MI prior to that. He is the founder of Brothers of John the Steadfast but handed off the Sr. Editor position to Rev. Joshua Scheer in 2015. He currently resides in Ocean Shores WA with his wife Phyllis. He regularly teaches in Africa. He also paints watercolors, reads philosophy and golfs. He is currently represented in two art galleries in the Pacific Northwest. His M Div is from Concordia, St. Louis and he has an MA in philosophy from St. Louis University and a D Min from Concordia, Fort Wayne.


A Little Liturgical Victory, by Pastor Rossow — 6 Comments

  1. Hey Pierce,

    I want the sun back out next time I come. No trips scheduled (Phyllis is probably going out in May) but when I am coming I’ll let you know. We are still lamenting that we didn’t join you and Scott for lunch that day. We are looking forward to enjoying your little French bistro by the Market.

    Pastor Rossow

  2. It was such a joy to place the sign of the cross upon this little girl’s forehead today. What a joy it is to be at a place where so much progress has been made at creating proper liturgical piety.
    The joy of making the sign of the cross with the ashes upon this little girl was very poignant, having heard only a little while earlier of the sudden death of a father of a staff member.

  3. One of the many slanders against liturgical worship is that it is not child-friendly. As a new parent, I am becoming aware of how false this is. The historic liturgy is actually more child friendly.

    I hold my 14-month old daughter, during worship, so that she can what is going on in front, and we sit near the front of the nave. She is clearly fascinated by the candles, the colors, and the liturgical gestures (I forget the technical name for this) of the pastor. She is soothed by the organ music. She has begun to enjoy the gifts of the divine service before she has even learned to speak. Praise God!

    As she grows older, she will gradually come to understand more and more of what is going on, and learn to fully participate.

    Somehow, I don’t think that a guy in a suit up front delivering a lecture would be nearly as engaging for a small child.

  4. I have been a Lutheran educator for over 30 years. Most of those teaching years were with 6 and 7 year olds. I have heard all the reasons and arguements for NOT teaching our Lutheran Liturgical worship to children. Especially YOUNG children.

    I would challenge and also encourage anyone who thinks one can’t teach it to young children to come to Bethany Lutheran School and observe our Early Childhood Chapel. Maybe seeing is believing….because our children joyfully participate in our chapel worship.

    Yes, young children (3.4.5 year olds) can learn our liturgical worship.

  5. My daughter followed along with the liturgy when she was 3 at the church in Cedar Park, TX that I was attending when I was down there. It was such a joy.

    There was a young man (3-5ish) who spoke the entire liturgy at my current church a few years ago. Even the pastors part. He’s probably 9 now and doesn’t do it anymore, but NO ONE complained — it was just such a joy to see this little one who was learning eternal truths.

    I wonder what kids of people who attend theAlley or like churches do? Do they just dance with the music? Isn’t there quite a difference between dancing with the music and speaking the Word? From my attending such services they don’t follow any regular liturgy, so there isn’t the opportunity for learning that there is in our services.

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