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Monday, November 23, 2015

Of sermons and children

There are perils involved with giving a children's sermon. Most of the time, there is nothing out of the ordinary. And then there are moments like yesterday's.

I was talking about memorizing things - the Creed, prayers, and scripture - in particular psalms. I mentioned the canon which says that bishops should know the psalms by heart. This followed:

Me: "I am not close to knowing all the psalms by heart, so I am not in danger of becoming a bishop. Besides, that would also require sending my wife to a monastery and I don't think either of us is quite ready for that."

Lucia, from right in front of me: "I am."

The end.

Sunday, November 8, 2015


Tonight was the first orchestra experience in an indoor setting for our two oldest. I was fairly sure Teddy would be okay, whether or not he liked the music (and he was okay behavior-wise, though he was, perhaps due to general sleepiness, rather nonplussed about the event). I was a bit worried about Lucia, being only four and sitting through a full concert. Turns out I needn't have worried.

She started out a bit hesitant and she did spend a good chunk of the concert with hands by her ears, being worried about the loud ("big") parts. But as soon as the first half ended, she clapped with all the enthusiasm she could muster. She was a bit more restless during the second half, and the concert ended with both her and Teddy on my lap (thank goodness they're small). Still, the walk back to the car was an almost uninterrupted whirlwind about "the singers," and the "big girl with the violin," and "why did they stop," and wanting to sing with them, and liking the small (i.e. quiet) parts, and when will she be big, and "when will the singers come back?"

It might be worth mentioning that the walk took seven minutes with her in my arms on the way there. It took about fifteen on the way back and I'm not sure she even quite realized that she had forgotten to ask to be picked up.

 Score one for classical music and one for a charmingly-elated little girl.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Holy Week Reprise

Holy Week was a lot for the children. We made it to 17 services of the 19 (including those of the previous Saturday and Sunday). Teddy always gets excited about the service of the Twelve Gospels on Holy Thursday evening, but is usually too tired to participate by holding a candle.

This afternoon, Timmo found the Holy Week books that we haven't put away, and brought me one, happily saying, "Book!?" Then Lucia got the other one, and they were paging through, asking me to join them on "Amen" and singing to each other, "Holy God, Holy Mighty!"

After Timmo went up for a nap, Teddy investigated the books and found "The Service of the Twelve Gospels!!" Then he asked me to sing the Alleluias, and he chanted the verses. Then he started in on the first gospel pericope. He read aloud for quite a while, with Lucia copying some of his words like a defective microphone (just a few, quietly, here and there). Then he chanted as if to end, and blessed Daddy with the book. Daddy, however, teased him, saying, "Hey, you're cheating. That's not the end!" Teddy looked a little tired, so I told him he could stop now or keep going as he liked. So he kept going.

I had to leave at this line, though, coming from my chatterbox five-year-old: "I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now."

(Before I left, he only had "five more pages" to go of that first gospel reading...)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Vocabulary: I Corinthians 4:9-16

For some reason, I thought it would be an excellent idea to have TG read the epistle of the day, review the vocabulary he didn't know, and reread the epistle with the new vocabulary.  Well, the epistles have lots of words a five-year-old doesn't know, and they can be complicated, abstract terms.  So there's a lot of jumping around and looking things up and thinking on the parent's part to squiggle these words around so TG can get a hold of them.  For instance, I got out the pan and the scouring pad for the word "off-scouring."

revile: say bad things to or about somebody

After reviewing the definition a few times, I asked if he could revile me.  TG looked a little wary, like this was some sort of trap.  I said, "Can you say a bad thing about me?"  He said, "No!"  Surprised, I said, "Why not?"  TG:  "Because I'm nice!"  Okay. Point taken.

defame: damage the good reputation (of somebody)

I asked who had a good reputation at church, and he said, "Daddy," so I said, "What if somebody went around saying that Daddy had hit Mommy?  That would be defaming Daddy's reputation."  TG, not quite getting it yet, said, "After Daddy hits you, I will say: Daddy, you're defaming Mommy!"

My forehead is starting to hurt, but we're getting there.  And at least the bottom of the frying pan is cleaner.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Cedar Rapids, we have a chanter

At tonight's paraklesis service, we had a bit of a surprise. There were four adults and one mischievous, bright-eyed, and surprisingly bold little boy around the chant stand. We got to "God is the Lord," chanted the first two verses and refrains and, as we were getting ready for the third verse, an unexpected voice pipes up with "This has been done... by the Lord, and... it is wonderful in our eyes." Two small breaks to make sure he read everything correctly, intoned on pitch, with a proper ending phrase. I just about could not chant the refrain because I was trying not to laugh. This comes after about a week ago he began chanting the apolytikion for St. Mary Magdalene by making sure he got the tone right: "Di, Vou, Ga, Di."

The little boy is growing up. And he is paying attention. Somehow. In the middle of all that running, wiggling, jumping, laughing, whining, thumping, and general causing of havoc.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What has he been eating?

Me: Teddy, why are you squealing?
T: Because there's a siren inside?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Solo church adventures

So, I have a twenty-month-old daughter. And now, a two-day-old son. (The four-year-old overactive wannabe altar boy will be discussed at a different time). Back to the daughter who, now that her mother is not coming to church for forty days, does not have a designated chaperone. Several parishioners have lovingly volunteered to help, but they may not be able to make weekday services. On such occasions, Lucia would be on her own (or, as a parishioner likes to say, not tethered).

Well, today was one of those days. I took the older two with me when I went to get ready for service. While I was getting things ready, I spent as much time as I could with Lucia, but then the service started. She went and sat on the first pew. And sat there through Orthros and Liturgy. By herself. And mostly paid attention. Did I mention that she is twenty months old?

In Orthros she spent some time leafing through the Liturgy book (quite carefully). In Liturgy, well, she spent a lot of time just paying attention. How do I know? Because when I turned out to give the peace, she looked at me and moved her left hand as if she were blessing. When I said "Let us lift up our hearts," she lifted up her hands like I had done. And when it came time for communion, she came down by herself and waited patiently to be the third (of four) to receive, and then went back to her spot in the first pew.

All I can say is glory to God and I am very grateful for this little girl.