Monday, September 6, 2010

order, dignity, and impressiveness...

In less than one week, our regular program year begins. I am thinking today about Children's worship.  What is the practice of your church?  We have "Children's Worship' one each month and it consists of various degrees of formality.  One of the things I am focusing on this year is to try to impart both the joy and the dignity of worship. In the 1859 Edition (the 3rd) of "The Sunday School Liturgy" published by the Sunday School Society and the American Unitarian Association, a suggested form of worship goes thus:

(from the Preface)

"This Liturgy is designed to be used in the following manner.

At the opening of the school, the Superintendent will say: —
We will begin this service by reading Lesson numbered [name the number, and, after a moment's pause, the Superintendent will read the sentences marked " S.," and the Pupils the sentences marked " P.," alternately].

When this is read, the Superintendent will say: —
We will pray in the words of the Prayer numbered [name the number, and, after a moment's pause, the Superintendent will repeat each line, which will be repeated after him by the Pupils.

After this, the Superintendent will say: —
We will sing Hymn numbered [name the number, and read the Hymn, which will then be sung by the school].

At the close, he will say: —
We will -close this session of the school by singing Hymn numbered [name the number].

The liturgical exercises are short, and, by changing the succession, a great variety may be secured. It is hoped that an observance of the method above named may give order, dignity, and impressiveness to the devotional services of the schools in which this book may be used.

Though giving less space than other similar publications to Natural Religion, and bringing into more prominence the great truths of the Gospel, and especially the need of a Redeemer, yet the book has no sectarian or dogmatic bias. It was prepared by a pastor who for years has consecrated scholarly and devout gifts to this interesting department of religious instruction. His manuscripts were examined by several gentlemen, who were requested to add, suppress, or recast portions, or entire parts, according to their judgment and taste. They gave time and care to this revision."

The book goes on to provide lessons, prayers and hymns.  Tomorrow, a sample service...


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