Cecelia Mereness is a children's worship leader at Church of the Servant, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Articles by this author:
Sonja Stewart. Louisville: Geneva Press, 2000. 276 pp. $24.95.
When I opened my copy of Following Jesus, I felt like a young child for whom Christmas morning has finally arrived! I have led worship for four- and five-year-olds for several years and have eagerly awaited this sequel to Stewart’s first book, Young Children and Worship.
Children who take part in the Children and Worship program know what worship is all about. They say worship is "telling God you love him," "showing God how much you love him," "praying to God," "singing songs," "learning about God," "believing in God and talking about it," and "giving things to someone special."
Can you imagine adults defining worship more aptly?
On a cold December evening, sixteen neighborhood, children responded to an invitation to hear the Christmas story at our house. I didn't even know all of them by name, but I invited them because I wanted to test a new way of telling stories I had learned at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan. I had taken the four-day training session twice. But I was still somewhat skeptical of this children's worship program with its quiet, reverent environment. How could children sit as still as fifty-year-olds to hear God's Word?
Jon couldn't wait to hold the doll I had brought along to his home that Wednesday afternoon last December. It was one of the visuals I planned to use to help him remember his baptism in preparation for his profession of faith. As I held the blanket-clad plastic doll in my arms, I told Jon about how small he had been when his parents brought him to church to be baptized, but he didn't listen. He only wanted to hold the doll—so I gave it to him. Tenderly he talked to the lifelike load in his arms, as if it were real. He caressed it lovingly and kissed it.