Children Really Need to be in Church!

I’ve posted before about the importance of bringing children to church, from pretty much the moment of their birth on. I was reminded of why this is so important this morning. Even I can be surprised once in a while!

Chickadee was being her normal toddler self in church this morning, while our pastor was preaching on the Gospel text of John 4 about Jesus and the Samaritan woman. She was coloring on the bulletin, climbing on the pew (and falling off of it), and turning pages in the hymnal. Basically, doing anything other than paying attention to the sermon.

Or so I thought.

Suddenly, she looked up and (embarrassingly) shouted, “Drink water!”

She was listening.

She heard our pastor preaching about the Living Water that only Jesus gives, heard him and repeated it. Now, I’m not saying she understood what he was saying. (Because I can’t fully understand how the Holy Spirit works, however, I’m also not willing to say she didn’t understand on some level.) But she was listening, in her own toddler way.

That’s why we bring children, even very young children, as young as possible, to church, instead of leaving them at home or in the nursery, or giving up on church ourselves until they’re older. Because they are hearing, even when it looks like they’re not, and we know, because the Bible tells us, that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

That’s why we’re there every Sunday, even when it’s hard and our children do embarrassing things and it seems like they’re never going to get anything out of the service. Because they are getting the very most important thing out of the service. They are hearing, and their faith is growing.

That’s why our children need to be in church!


Bibelot–a small object of curiosity, beauty, or rarity.


“The deep red color of the bibelot recalls the blood of Christ that in Holy Baptism cleanses you from all sin.
The fruit of the Spirit stamped on the bibelot reminds you of Baptism’s ongoing fruit in your life as the Holy Spirit keeps you united to your Lord in living faith.
Through the ongoing gift of Baptism, God continues to pour out forgiveness and new life for you. Rejoice!”

Until today, I had never heard the word “bibelot.” These particular stones are from the font that was at the LCMS convention, and are inscribed with different fruit of the Spirit. I never passed by the font when I was there, so I had no idea these were in it, and even if I had seen them, I wouldn’t have known what they were! A friend from church was kind enough to pick up a few of them for us on the last day of the convention, and I think they look very nice surrounding the Paschal candle in our school room!


2013 LCMS Convention–“Baptized for this Moment”

I’ve been down at the LCMS convention a few times over the course of the last several days, and I took some pictures, both when I was volunteering, and when I took the children to see what it was all about.

The convention is being held at America’s Center (which is attached to the Edwards Jones Dome),  in downtown St. Louis. I had never been there before…the building is huge!


Lots of signage in and around the building announcing the convention:





The registration area (the calm before the storm!):


Lots of Lutherans!


It was a little strange worshipping in a convention center for the Opening Service:


But it was wonderful seeing so many pastors vested for the service!



KFUO has been broadcasting live from the convention:


I brought the children with a few specific things in mind that I wanted them to see. We peeked inside halls one and two, where all of the work is being done:


We spent a lot of time in the exhibit hall:


The CPH “table” was the overwhelming favorite, partly because it was the biggest one there, and partly because they all remembered that Daddy used to work there!


The children were also excited to get to write notes of encouragement to missionaries:


They also liked seeing the banners that were made by school children to decorate the main convention center hall:





Of course, I had to take a pictures of all of the children there!


When we got home, we all put on our temporary tattoos:


I’m so glad that the convention was in St. Louis this year, so that the children could see their church body at work!

A Service of Blessing


Today, the oldest four children and I went to the International Center in Kirkwood for the service of blessing for the new KFUO studios. While I have taken the children to the IC before, they’ve never been to a service in the chapel there…they really liked all of the windows and the organ!


They also enjoyed some of the artwork that is displayed throughout the IC:


The end of the service included a procession to the studios, where a blessing and prayers were said. We got to peek in the windows after the service was done.


There’s also a nice display case, showcasing the history of KFUO:


Even Walther was dressed up for the occasion!


There was also a nice cake reception. It was fun to see some familiar faces, and meet some new people!

January 27–John Chrysostom, Preacher

This has been a busy week for festivals and commemorations! It doesn’t happen too often that there are four such days in a row, (although there are a few other instances of it throughout the year). Today is the commemoration of the Preacher John Chrysostom. That we could all show the faith he demonstrated in saying his final words on this earth!

From the LCMS website:

Given the added name of Chrysostom, which means “golden-mouthed” in Greek, Saint John was a dominant force in the fourth-century Christian church. Born in Antioch around the year 347, John was instructed in the Christian faith by his pious mother, Anthusa. After serving in a number of Christian offices, including acolyte and lector, John was ordained a presbyter and given preaching responsibilities. His simple but direct messages found an audience well beyond his home town. In 398, John Chrysostom was made Patriarch of Constantinople. His determination to reform the church, court, and city there brought him into conflict with established authorities. Eventually, he was exiled from his adopted city. Although removed from his parishes and people, he continued writing and preaching until the time of his death in 407. It is reported that his final words were: “Glory be to God for all things. Amen.” 

Quote of the Day

Love, love, love this quote! I may start referring to it when nosy strangers decide that it’s their right to comment (negatively) on the size of our family.

It can be a God-pleasing act to have a large, loving, orthodox Lutheran family, and those who are able should not be diverted from this by any self-imposed “green” limit of 2.1 children per couple. LCMS President Pastor Matthew Harrison in the November 2011 issue of The Lutheran Witness

Mixed Messages

This is by no means a commentary on my specific church; rather, it’s an observation about the Church at large, from experiences at many different congregations upon the observance of All Saints’ Day.

The Church, (at least the LC-MS), is staunchly pro-life. This is great news! From the pregnancy that is hours old, to the most elderly person, we recognize that only God has the right to decide the length of our days. And so, we realize that it is not our job to act in His stead and force those kinds of decisions, regardless of the circumstances.

The Church also has a history of reassuring parents that have lost children in utero that they can hope to see that child in Heaven someday. Do we know for certain that children, lost before they had the chance to make it to the waters of Holy Baptism, are in Heaven? I suppose not–not any more than we can guarantee that any specific person is in Heaven–only God knows for sure. But we are a people of hope, and that hope is usually shared with parents grieving the loss of a child following a miscarriage or stillbirth.

So then, why the mixed message that is sent on All Saints’ Day? In all of the churches I’ve been to, I’ve never heard mention of children lost before they have drawn their first breath when the year’s faithful departed are named. But if we are to share and believe in that hope of eternal life, even for children miscarried, and if we believe, as we should, that they were people from the moment of their conception, shouldn’t they be numbered with the Saints in Heaven?

I realize that this is a daunting task. Many children lost at such a young gestational age are never given names; many of the losses are never even shared publicly or recognized. And in a large congregation, remembering every such loss, (because according to the statistics, there are a lot of them), could be time-consuming. But even a blanket remembrance of those lost, a mention of those babies miscarried, would be a comfort to grieving parents, a reassurance that they can hope to see their child in Heaven someday, and a way of acknowledging to parents that their children are never forgotten.

A Prayer for Independence Day

From the LCMS “LetUsPray” Resource:

“O merciful Father in heaven, on this anniversary of our nation’s Declaration of Independence, keep this nation under Your care. Protect our land from danger and instability. Abide with our military who courageously keep our country safe. Guide President Obama, our federal and state legislators, our governors, our county and city government officials, and all who serve them. Grant all public servants the understanding that You work through them to keep our country stable and safe.

Eternal God, the country You have given to us is indeed a good land, a land in which freedom reigns. Give us faith, however, to look beyond this land and into the eternal home which You give to us for Jesus’ sake.

God of peace, You know that we live in a world plagued with war and uprising. By Your Word and Sacraments, strengthen our faith so that we can endure this world while remaining confident of Your eventual return, when war will cease and peace will sustain the new creation. Amen.”

A Mother’s Day Prayer

Our pastor prayed a prayer very similar to this one this morning, only he also included a petition for mothers who have lost children. I wish I had the full text of that prayer, because I found it especially comforting this year, but this is equally beautiful, from the LetUsPray section of the LCMS website:

“Blessed Father, You grant us life through our parents and You set children in families. Be pleased to bless our mothers, especially on this Mothers’ Day. Help them recognize the holy office You have entrusted to them, and strengthen them to serve faithfully and well within it. Grant that their motherly service may not be burdensome, but rather joyful and glad. Bless all women who do not have children and those whose children are estranged from them, that their hope and confidence may ever remain in You in whom true joy is found. Give us loving hearts that freely give thanks for our mothers, that heartily forgive them where they have failed and fallen short, that willingly obey them, and that gladly honor them. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.”