Liturgy and Catechesis
I am sold on the Liturgy because I know how it is effecting our family (isn't that so pragmatic of me?). I know my God more fully, and when I am in distress of some kind I often find myself repeating, "Now may the Peace that passes all understanding be with our hearts and minds unto Life everlasting, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen!" Or when I'm sitting in traffic I sing "This is the Feast" or some other part of the Divine Service in my head. It is comforting to me that the Word is becoming a part of my comfort in daily life. And it is so because I hear it over and over again.
But an even more powerful testament to the usefulness (there's that pragmatism again) of the Liturgy is how it is aiding in our Catechesis of Olivia. It's not only me that sings hymns and praise for comfort. When Olivia wakes up in the morning we are often roused from our sleep to these joyful words streaming through the baby monitor:
Slaim (that's how she says it. teehee.)
People of God!"
While that is simply adorable-- and good for showing off-- it's not what makes my heart sputter. And it's not what confesses the faith that has been given to my little one. She can also sing most of the words to "Moon River" so this could just be a song to her.
Olivia has been telling us for about a month now that "Jesus died cross. Rose again." We've explained this concept to her through the repetition of our creeds. She reminds us every time we drive or walk past a Church with a cross on the steeple.
And the other night Liv was postponing being put to bed by asking me to read her prayers from the "Lutheran Book" (Lutheran Book of Prayer) which has a selection of Psalms and other prayers. Then she wanted me to pray "Father God," which is how Rob opens his personal prayers. So she started out folding her hands and said, "Father God..." and then looked at me sheepishly because she didn't know what else to say.
So I said, "Let's try this one. Our Father."
Olivia: Are Heaven.
Me: Very good! Who art in Heaven.
Olivia: Hello your name.
Me: Hallowed be your name.
Olivia: Kingdom come.
Me: Thy Kingdom come.
Olivia: Will done.
Me: Thy will be done.
Olivia: (mumble mumble) Heaven.
Me: Very Good! On Earth as it is in Heaven.
Olivia: (mumble mumble) Daily Bread.
You get the picture.
The sad thing is, we don't pray this prayer together as a family very often. We usually pray a petition of prayers for the needs of our family and then thank God for His Son and His Sacrifice. But because Olivia hears this prayer weekly in our Service she has it memorized pretty well for someone who's not yet 2.
And the memorization of these concepts is working a real Faith in her which we can see through her spontaneous talk about God.
As I was rocking her to bed with the lights out that evening Olivia broke the silence to tell me, "EE-Ah (that's how she says her name) loves Christ." Tears welled up in my eyes and I said, "Christ loves Olivia, too." And she responded with a sleepy, dreamy, "Yeah."