Archive for Liturgy

Two baptisms, three deaths, and a whole lot of grace

In the summer months we celebrate several anniversaries.

July 20th, is our Anna’s baptism anniversary. A sweet and simple day that always brings back wonderful chrism smell memories. The reminder that our daughter is sealed in Christ. Read More →

The Great Amen: Understanding the sanctuary and celebration

This post is part of a series on understanding the physical, sensorial and spiritual elements of our sanctuary and celebration. Today we will take a closer look into the Great Amen.

As a young girl I sang in our church’s youth choir. I am grateful to our director for always explaining how our ministry supported the celebration. I remember clearly the day she told us that the Great Amen was the most important thing we lead the congregation in each week. It seemed crazy, it was only one word, often sung as second nature. It was definitely an easy part of mass to miss. I had some investigating to do to figure out why it was so important.

I am excited to share the results of my research on the most important sung element of the service, the Great Amen.

Read More →

A Church made for toddlers: Understanding the sanctuary and celebration

Going to mass with my daughter is quite the trip. As she grows further into toddlerdome, her wiggles are growing, but we have also found many opportunities to share the celebration with her, using tactile and visual cues. We mention her place in the family of God as we dip our hands in the baptismal font, and when she gets fussy we use the stations of the cross to tell her the story of Good Friday. As she finds ways to engage, it makes me wonder, was church made to engage people at all developmental states? Was our church made with my toddler in mind? Read More →

Comfort in the ancient: The time the rosary clicked

I had been a mom for just over a year, and as wonderful and beautiful as the year had been I still felt like I hadn’t found my mom sea legs. I was still catching my bearings and finding balance in this new season of life.

Anna and I were making the 40 minute drive home after a stressful week of work. A 70-hour week that culminated in having to ask a friend to babysit my daughter at work on a Saturday.  I was utterly exhausted.

IMG_3122 Read More →

The value of ancient words

Is there value in repeating ancient words?

Often I feel more comfortable in the tradition of spontaneous prayers. Prayer where I piece the words together in the moment and express myself like I would to a friend over coffee. This free form stream of conscious type prayer is a sincere and powerful extension of my heart, but recently I have found a new peace and strength in the prayers passed down through Christian tradition.

A huge collection of ancient prayers dripping in history, theology, and truth are still repeated by millions of Christians from all over the world today. Words that were written down long ago and have journeyed through history in the mouths of searching people. Maybe you have prayed some of them before, some come from scripture like, The Our Father, The Magnificat, Simeon and Zachary’s Song, and The Doxology. There are also many prayers passed down through tradition of the church like the prayers of Ignatius of Antioch and Hippolytos of Rome, the Nicene creed, and the church’s liturgical prayers of baptism.

So this is my attempt to understand how the prayers of the historic church can be a peaceful and beneficial part of my regular prayer? Read More →

When a baby cries at church

There we are, in the middle of a beautiful service, and then we hear it, the sounds of our smallest church goers. A loud cry from the pew behind us, a kneeler going bang across the aisle, or a fit from the young one in our own pew. Our quiet peaceful moment is ruined.

When a child cries at church, it is easy to assume it takes away from the worship experience. And while yes, it does change the experience, we can find ways to allow these distractions to change it for the better. To have a greater experience of God because, not in spite, of the howling of the smallest saints at church. 

Here are seven things to ponder when you hear crying at church. Read More →