Come Worship With Me: A Journey Through the Church Year
Ruth Boling and Tracy Dahle Carrier
Geneva Press, 2001
There’s a large “clock” on the wall at my daughter’s preschool, with a marking for each week of the liturgical year. The teacher moves the hand each week when the children gather. As they progress through the year, she tells the children that this is the “way the world tells time.” This was one of the (many) things that sold me on her little school. It’s so important for children to understand that there is a larger reality that orders our lives, beyond the annual secular march through Hallmark holidays and department store sales. Life is a pilgrimage from birth to death to rebirth and resurrection, and the church year marks out the contours of our path.
Come Worship With Me is another lovely introduction to the church year, in picture book form. A small mouse invites readers to come worship, and we accompany him through the seasons and holy days at his church. Each day or season is introduced through its own special form of worship: candles and expectant carols for Advent; palms and processions on Palm Sunday; a sunrise service and trumpets on Easter morning. Each movement of the church calendar is an opportunity to worship God. Through the year we learn more about who He is and what He has done for us.
The whole telling is winsome, and appeals to children without talking down to them. The small mouse-narrator describes what happens in church, as well as how it makes him feel or how it helps him experience God. So, for instance, his comment on Palm Sunday (after observing that the other children use the palms to flick each other!): “I’m not sure whether to be glad or sad on Palm Sunday, because I know Jesus will die soon on the cross. I will try to be glad, because he is the ‘King of Kings.'” Really, the title is apt: the whole book is an invitation to worship, to share in the pilgrimage through the church year with the whole people of God.
While it’s true that the pictures portray a “traditional” church and some of the practices described only happen in liturgical churches, this is just as much a book for kids who worship in megachurches, borrowed warehouses, or house churches. Some readers may be unfamiliar with Ash Wednesday or All Saints’ Day, but these are ancient and beautiful markers of time in the Christian tradition. They’re explained in an approachable way that makes their significance clear to children, whether or not their own church celebrates them.
For Christians who aren’t as familiar or comfortable with liturgical traditions but would like to learn more: this book clearly demonstrates how the Church year – with its annual traditions – helps us learn about God and honor him together. Buy it now, and begin reading through it in the weeks leading up to the beginning of Advent – and invite your child into a year of worship.