In last week’s First Notes, I mentioned the proposed change to move Sunday School after the worship service, during the Bible study hour. This week, I’d like to share one reason I think this is important related to worship.
What is worship?
You may find different dictionaries use different phrasing, but in essence, worship is an individual or community showing adoration, praise, reverence, love to something or someone.
For Christians, worship is God’s people gathering together to adore, praise, revere, and love our Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
In worship services at First Lutheran, we show our love and praise of God with hymns and prayers and a confession of our common faith in God. We also offer back to God from the abundance of the financial blessings He has poured upon us.
In worship, we are also blessed by God’s good gifts coming down to us as God comes among His people in His Word and Sacraments. We receive God’s Word of forgiveness in the Absolution. We receive God’s Word of instruction and salvation in the three Bible readings and in the sermon. We receive the body and blood of Christ in the Lord’s Supper for our forgiveness, life, and salvation.
In our current format, you will see that our children are missing out on some of these opportunities to love and praise God. Our Sunday School students and teachers miss the confession of faith in the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed. They miss the prayers of the church. They often miss the offering.
Our Sunday School students and teachers also miss some of the opportunities to receive God’s good gifts since they do not hear the Bible readings or the sermon.
The reason why I think it is wise for us to move Sunday School outside the worship time is simple: our children are God’s people. There is no age limit on worship. There is no age limit on receiving God’s good gifts nor on being able to love and praise God.
Sunday School itself is a great time to teach our children about the faith, to share the stories of God’s action in the world most especially through Jesus. But worship, worship is the time when we teach children and all new believers how to be God’s people, how to love and praise God in songs and prayers. Worship is where we teach each new generation how God comes down to us with His good gifts of forgiveness and life.
Our children belong in worship because they are God’s people.
God’s blessings on your week.