I worked from home today, and that afforded me the opportunity to attend our parish's Wednesday morning Eucharist with the school children (including my granddaughter). The adults show up a few moments before the school children, and sit and pray in silence. But then the school children enter, and the silence becomes even more profound. No one chattering or talking or whispering. Heads bowed here and there. Habakkuk's words ring: "The Lord is in His holy temple, let all the earth keep silence before Him."
With the ringing of the bell, the pastors began the liturgy, a complete Divine Service, largely sung, though only singing one hymn: the Hymn of the Day. Pastor Ball preached to the children about death; about how we can face death like the thief on the cross, asking Jesus to remember us when He comes in His kingdom. About how Jesus has made death something we no longer have to fear; not if we face it with Jesus. And of course, how He remembers us and gives us paradise even already in the very gift of His Body and Blood.
After the benediction, Pastor quizzes the children on the Catechism and they recited today the first section of the sixth chief part. Already they had learned it by heart: What is the Sacrament of the Altar? Where is this written? The adults join them in the recitation, and then in silence, the children file out and then the adults.
Tonight we gathered in the Church yet again to pray Vespers and to finish our meditation on St. Luke's Passion. Many who had attended this morning were present for the Church's lovely evening prayer also. We chanted Psalm 40, sang the last stanzas of "O Dearest Jesus, What Law Hast Thou Broken," heard the Passion, sang the responsory for Lent, heard a fine homily on a similar theme from the morning, but not geared toward children per se this time, sang with the holy Virgin her Magnificat, and concluded with the Litany with its all-encompassing intentions.
As Cindi and I drove home, I thought to myself: how blessed beyond words we are to be part of such a parish community! The Word preached so richly, the liturgy celebrated so reverently and joyfully, the children instructed so diligently, and the people who shine the love of Christ by their kindness and love. Yes, we are blessed indeed.