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Topic: Worship (05/03/04)
TITLE: PRECIOUS IN HIS SIGHT
By Linda Ryzenga
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One of my fondest memories evolves around six years of teaching Children's Worship to many precious 3 and 4 year olds in a church I once attended.
Children's Worship consisted of an organized worship service for children when their parents were in the “Big Church” upstairs.
The church calendar was always an important teaching tool. It was always kept standing atop a very low worship table. The children sat with their legs crossed and their hands folded in their laps. A semi-circle was formed by the group in front of the table. The calendar was cut from white cardboard in the form of a circle, and all along the edge of the circle were 52 spaces representing the 52 weeks of the year.
Each Sunday the Adult Worship Leader would choose a child helper who, among other duties, would station the hand of the calendar to the next space, or week. Advent was the most exciting time for the children as Advent only involves four Sundays before Christmas, and on each of the four Sundays, the Worship Leader removed a gold foil-covered box containing wooden figures which pertained to that particular weeks' story.
The first week draws attention to Mary and Joseph as they were eagerly looking forward to the birth of Jesus. The second week contained wooden figures resembling the shepherds, who had a feeling of anxiety knowing that a Savior would be born sometime soon. The third week displayed a gold box containing the Wise men, or The Magi. It was explained that the Magi traveled for a long, long time searching for the Baby Jesus, not knowing exactly when He would be born, or where He would be, but they kept following a star which eventually led them to the Baby Jesus. The fourth week was the most exciting, it contained Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and – definitely the most important – the Baby Jesus and the manger where He lay. This was a very joyous occasion – not only back then, but for the children and myself as the worship leader.
Needless to say, there were times when I was teaching that I had to keep from laughing, and there also were times when I had tears in my eyes. We had a prayer time during Children's Worship when the children would ask God for something, like healing a sick relative, or watching over a sick turtle. On one particular Sunday, a little boy prayed for his cat that his parents had to take to the local humane shelter, for whatever reason. He was so sincere and I could sense the grief in his tiny voice as he prayed to the Lord to watch over his cat. Then there was the sweet little girl who was always asking when I was going to wear my “purrpul” dress. I generally wore my purple dress on the Sundays during Advent, as purple was the color of Advent.
I thank God for that experience I had with those darling boys and girls. I know why Jesus wanted the children to come to Him, and forbade the disciples to hold them back. They were indeed most precious in His sight.