Liturgical Analysis with a Seven Year Old

Pilgrims kids are in worship all the time. We have three stations set-up throughout the sanctuary that invite our kids to engage in our liturgical experience at their own developmental level. On any given Sunday you can see our kids sitting in the pews with their parents or moving around to one of stations when their body has had enough of sitting.

When I observe our kids in these stations and I see them drawing, felt-boarding, working with the sand tray, I can wonder, "are they paying attention?"

Thankfully the Spirit intervenes on my wondering with an experience like this one.

On Transfiguration Sunday, we used tableau's to explore the transfiguration story together. See this video.

After we were done with the tableau’s, I went back to the storytelling station to check-in with Skanda, one of our seven year olds.

After the “Hey, how are you Skanda?” we quickly moved into this conversation:

Skanda: Pastor Ashley, what were you doing over there?
Me: We were creating sculptures with our bodies. That’s how we told the story today.
Skanda: Why did people get up there and do that?
Me: They wanted to show others how the story made them feel.
Skanda: Why didn’t my dad get up there?
Me: I don’t know. You’d have to ask him. Some people like to observe and watch things.
Skanda: How did you let people know you were going to do this? Did you call them up this week?
Me: No, Andy taught us how to do these last week. I just explained it again.
Skanda: Oh, how much longer until worship is over?

Love this kid.

Skanda had been back reading in the storytelling station the whole time. One, including myself, might think, “there is no way Skanda’s paying attention. That kid is totally checked out.”

Oh, but he’s totally checked-in. Not only listening and watching but also wondering about how I/we made it happen. “Did you call people up and let them know?”

Pilgrims are used to doing stuff like this in worship so phone calls and emails aren’t needed. And I adore Skanda’s thinking—what needs to happen prior to worship to get people on board? How do you create ownership with liturgy? Does Skanda need his own heads-up in times of transition?

He noticed we did something a bit out of the ordinary. Skanda paid attention to his dad’s participation. He wondered about what needed to happen prior to doing something like human sculptures. Skanda thought critically, at his age level, about liturgy and its parts–especially the parts that happen before the Sunday performance even happened.

Paying attention

Next time we have worship planning, I’m calling up Skanda.