I just read a very good post on the perils of “children’s time” over at Carolyn’s wonderful blog, “Worshiping with Children.” Her post has inspired me to share a bit about how our church worked to include children in the Lent and Easter worship this year.
Our Lenten theme this year was “Make Space for God.” We began Lent with our front worship table cluttered with stuff–cell phones, junk mail, bills, pens, coupons . . . Each week at the end of children’s time (sorry Carolyn, we do have children’s time) the kids were invited to each take one item and place it in our recycling bin. By Palm Sunday the table was cleared off–we had made space for God.
Also, we had a family worship service for both Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Our traditional services on these days are very somber and contemplative; the family services involved stations, hands-on activities, and story telling. The children seemed to enjoy them, and I know the parents appreciated the opportunity family worship.
Towards the end of the Good Friday service, we draped a gray cloth across the front of our worship table, thus sealing the “tomb” with Jesus in it. At the beginning of worship on Easter morning, the children were invited to come forward and remove the “stone.” After they all looked into the empty tomb, they turned around and proclaimed to the congregation, “Christ is risen!” Then, as the congregation sang the first hymn, the children removed the gray cloth and placed the Easter cloth on the table. Then they brought in the cross, flowers, and communion elements and set them on the table as well.
The worship team and I have made good efforts to include children in worship during Lent and Easter this year. I hope we continue to be mindful of the young ones among us. And I would love to hear about how your church involves children in worship.