One last set of quotes from Pastor Danny Hyde’s book, The Nursery of the Holy Spirit. In this section of the book he is explaining how a liturgy, that is an order of service, catechizes, that is teaches us. Here are some quotes on why having fixed forms in the liturgy are so helpful for a child’s growth in Christ.
Most of us understand that to become skillful in any aspect of life we must repeat something over and over again…In a word, repetition is the mother of skills.
“Liturgy” or the order, act, words, and ceremonies in public worship, are a key instructor of us and our children…the liturgy of every church catechizes its worshipers.
Life skills are learned by repetition. This is also the case with religious skills such as learning to worship with the people of God. Repetitiveness is a virtue, not a vice.
Worship requires practice over time, as well. The liturgy should be heard from cradle to grave, from birthing bed to deathbed. In times of great joy, what better words to sing than those of the Reformed Doxology, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” In times of great sorrow, is there anything so comforting as praying, “Our Father, who art in heaven?” In times of doubt, the words, “I believe in God, the Father Almighty are fitting to help bolster failing faith. In times of repentance, the liturgy has taught us to cry out, “Lord have mercy on us, Christ have mercy on us, Lord have mercy on us.”
By including the corporate participation of the entire church, including children, liturgy teaches us that all, young and old, belong to the church. Liturgical worship is active, participatory worship. Children can hear it and learn it even before they read, and see it later with their own eyes upon the pages of the hymnal or bulletin as they begin to be able to read. For example, a four year old can recite the Apostles’ Creed with the local church and the church universal even before being able to read it in the hymnal or bulletin. Christianity is not a religion of adults for adults. Christianity is a churchly religion.
The point is that fixed forms in worship where we say and do the same things every week teach us the central parts of the Christian faith, are excellent tools for training our young children in doctrine and piety, and make our children a part of worship. I would encourage churches to use the Lord’s Prayer, Apostles’ Creed, Doxology, Gloria Patri, and other fixed forms to aid our children and make them feel apart of God’s people. It also helps the aged. As they get older and their memory falters these fixed forms can be easily recalled.