24 January 2009

Enjoying the Fruits

For a couple of years, Pastor Curtis and I have been working hard at TEACHING the children of our school the liturgy.  Regular Wednesday chapel is Matins - only we switch around the Canticles so that they end up learning them all.  They sing Venite et al. by heart!  

Tonight the children of TSP sang at our Saturday evening liturgy.  Wow!  It was glorious to hear those young voices lift up and carry away the song.  They did it repeatedly.  Throughout the Divine Service, their voices rang out with clarity.  And when they sang both during the Offering and the Distribution, what energy and joy.  They KNEW their stuff and belted out it out with joy.  For Distribution they sang:  "From God the Father, Virgin Born."  I haven't taught it yet to the parish as a whole, but the children already have it down pat.  

Anyone who tells you that kids can't learn the Church's music and lead the liturgy is just full of bunk!  Luther was right.  We need to work on the children - and leave the boomers to their hopelessly trite and dated "contemporary" songs.  The kids will long outlast them, singing:

From God the Father, Virgin-born,
To us the only Son came down
By death the font to consecrate
The faithful to regenerate!

15 comments:

Stoleman said...

Pastor Weedon,

To hear children's voices singing the liturgy is a blessed event!! It is sad that we relegate learning liturgy to later in life. As a child, I remember singing the liturgy and the happiness it gave me. That is one thing I hope to pass on to my daughter from the moment I hold her in my arms!!!

YIC,
Darian L. Hybl

Anonymous said...

Who says we relegate learning to later in life? As a child, I had the liturgy (TLH p. 5 & 15 as well as Matins and Vespers) memorized before I could even read because I was in church and my sainted mother sang it with me. My two daughters--age 3 years and 3 months--are learning the liturgy because they are in church (another failing of our boomer generation).
Rather than send our kids off to a nursery (or worse, "children's church"), it is more important now than ever that we raise our children up in the way they should go instead of entertaining the adults who must have missed some lessons along the way.
Our school children have learned the Service of Prayer and Preaching from LSB for chapel this year, and will lead the congregation during Lent when we use it as part of our catechesis. I only wish I could be there to hear them, since I will be in a pulpit exchange.

Your former vicar

Dennis said...

That is great to hear. I find it disturbing when people think that you have to dumb down the liturgy because children can't understand it. I have sung the canticles to my children since birth, I used them for songs at bedtime and naptime and any time. I had this impressed to me when I went to Vespers service at an Orthodox Church and saw the children singing along with long prayers. It is all about the teaching and repeating God's word over the children.

Phillip Magness said...
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Phillip Magness said...

It's really cool, ins't it? We reclaimed 'liturgical' chapel services at Bethany when I arrived nine years ago, and for the first few years there was considerable resistence to them from some of the day school teachers. But, over time, the detractors left and we now have a faculty that joins our pastors and principal in upholding the liturgy.

The teachers who objected often would use the argument that the liturgy was too hard or unfamiliar. Of course, the former is simply untrue, and the latter was only untrue because we hadn't yet taught the Canticles to them. What they really meant was that they, the teachers themselves, wanted neither to learn nor sing the liturgy.

And you are right: children's strongest singing is on the Canticles. A blessedly sweet fruit it is, indeed.

Thanks be to God!

Randy Asburry said...

Congratulations! That is blessed fruit indeed.

Only one thing: I didn't know that Luther spoke of/to the Baby Boomers. In what volume of Luther's Works will I find that? (I'd love to check it out. :-)

Pastor Wehmeyer said...

Out of curiosity, what grades/ages are in your chapel services on Wednesday?

I am wanting to begin this soon in our chapel. We have, along with our day school children, about 120 Early Childhood children who join us.

William Weedon said...

We have K-8 in the chapel.

William Weedon said...

Randy,

My paraphrase of the line in the LC that it is clearly useless to try to teach old people anything.

William Weedon said...

Mark,

Beautiful!

Phillip,

I think our biggest opposition at one time came from the teachers too. I think they're all on board now!

-C said...
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-C said...

The beauty of teaching the liturgy to children at an early age is that they, too, enjoy the fruits.

How important it is to teach children to do the work of the people - the very work for which they were created - work which is their work, too, by virtue of their baptism.

May God continue to bless your work!

Susan said...

Did I misunderstand? Do you have chapel only on Wednesdays?

William Weedon said...

Susan,

Yes, we have chapel only one day a week - we sing a full Matins that day. The other days we begin with the morning suffrages and Bible reading in the classroom, not gathered in church.

William Weedon said...

Darian,

From BEFORE you hold her in your arms - for she hears you and your wife singing even in the womb.