When Friends worship, we reach out from the depths of our being to God, the giver of life and of the world around us. Our worship is the search for communion with God and the offering of ourselves – body and soul – for the doing of God’s will.Faith & Practice, Philadelphia Yearly Meeting
This description of Quaker worship is dramatic and true and very much from an adult perspective. The need to “search for communion” is present and even driving in many grown-ups who seek out Meeting for Worship. Children have the same need for communion with God. Love, Joy, the Source, but without the verb attached to it. Rather than searching, they simply live from a place of connection.
Children in elementary grades and younger don’t have the same kind of definitional boundaries between time for work, time for play and time to be connected with the Divine that adults frequently have. For them work, play and worship is all the same thing and it doesn’t have to be named – it’s just living. The boundary that children define is between engagement in meaningful activity and boredom. And Meeting for Worship, when it is seen as a time when one just has to sit still, be quiet and count ceiling tiles for twenty minutes, is boring! As adults who worship with children, our task is to protect and nurture their connection to God as they experience it. Introducing and participating in worship in a way that is meaningful, not boring, can be quite simple and yet quite intimidating. This pamphlet provides some thoughts and concrete tools that can be used by elementary teachers in preparing for worship with children. By Christie Duncan-Tessmer, shared with permission from Newtown Friends School