Monday, November 10, 2008

children and spirituality

this is ari, yesterday, getting ready to lead all the children of the church in processional and for a special blessing.  this position is called a crucifer.  it may look odd to many of you who have not been in "high church" (episcopal, catholic, lutheran, presbyterian, etc) but if you can get over the initial wall this  puts up, it is actually quite cool.  
ari was the first to volunteer for this position last week and was looking forward to it every day.  when he got his reminder postcard and it said to be there by 9:05 to put on his robe he shrieked..."i get to wear a JEDI robe!?!?" i felt like it would be a disappointment that is was in fact, NOT, a jedi robe, but he actually took it quite well.  to him, it was a special "costume" to perform special duties.  it set him apart from the others for a specific task.  just like a jedi.  
he wore and carried a cross to signify following Christ and ari was the leader of the body that day.  they all walked behind the cross and into the place of worship.  after they received a prayer they went downstairs to a chapel that is a miniature of the sanctuary.  the children go through an entire anglican service, with all the pieces, just shorter and designed more for kids.  i really enjoy this.  i am accustomed to children's programs being filled with games, loud music, segregated ages and few adults.  here there were adults for every 2-3 children and the kids were guided through the service in a way that was appropriate for them, but still slowly preparing them for one day participating in the full service.  i'm not saying one is better or worse, i just appreciated many of the aspects of this style.  i know when i left "children's programs" (high school youth group) and was expected to attend "big church" i didn't know what to do.  i had never seen worship modeled in this way.   i had only attended services that catered to me.
one of my favorite topics to wrestle with is children and spirituality.  i just wonder what is the best way to expose them, teach them, give them a love for God and his word without leaving them feeling manipulated and bitter at the end.  a way to inspire and instill instead of indoctrinate and create mindless habits.  yesterday was one more piece to this very large puzzle i've been working on for years.  
it was a good piece though.


darbishar said...

How very cool!

Jeana said...

I LOVE the symbolism in "high church" services. It's very cool that your kids get to experience it on their level. Does Sonny wear a robe at work?

Christine said...

Ya' know, Jesus used parables for a reason. Symbolism can get through our thick skulls many times better than too much talk.

Or maybe that's just me. :)

I'm waiting on the old classic (which I've never read) "Celebrating Disciplines" to come in. With the special needs we have in our home now, we see the value of balancing creativity with structure. It's a beautiful marriage.

Well, that and YOU GET TO WEAR A JEDI ROBE!!!

Ben said...

holy crap, he's huge. glad i found your blog