Let the Children Come to Me
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“A holy hymn gives birth to piety of soul, creates a good conscience, and is accepted by God in the treasuries of the heavens.” - St. John Chrysostom
“If one were to put all of the world’s most precious things on one side of a scale, and the Divine Liturgy on the other, the scales would tip completely in favor of the Liturgy.” - St. John of Kronstadt
When we are given the beautiful blessing to either have children of our own or to be able to work with the youth in our parishes, we have an opportunity to show them one way to receive piety of soul. What a beautiful gift! Contemplating the words of St. John Chrysostom and of St. John of Kronstadt, we realize that we are called to instill in our children a love for the Holy Orthodox Hymns of our faith, and that we must teach them the importance of the Divine Liturgy. With humble and simple conversation, we can inspire our children as we relate the worship and hymnology of our faith to their everyday lives.
We can remind our children every Sunday on the way to church that when the priest chants the petitions for the peace of the world, our nation, our cities, and us, we can joyfully respond, “Lord have mercy!” And when the priest brings out the Holy Gospel and exclaims, “Wisdom”, we respond “Come, let us worship and fall down before Christ. Save us O Son of God, Who are risen from the dead, as we chant to you. Alleluia!”
When we chant the beautiful hymn “Only Begotten Son”, we can express to our children that Our Lord and Savior loves us so much, He took on human flesh even though He is immortal!
“Only begotten Son and Word of God, You Who are immortal and did condescend for our salvation to become incarnate of the holy Theotokos and ever Virgin Mary without change becoming man, Who was crucified, O Christ our God, by death trampling down upon death, You Who are one of the Holy Trinity, glorified with the Father and with the Holy Spirit, save us.” (Holy Transfiguration, Boston)
When we hear, “Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us”, we can instill in our children that we are praising the Holiness of God and can explain what it means to us as Orthodox Christians to have reverence for holy things.
And finally, we can impart to these precious souls, that all of the cares of this world can be left behind, even if just for a brief moment, when we participate in the Divine Liturgy. We actually represent the angels as we chant the Cherubic Hymn!
“Let us who mystically represent the Cherubim and chant the thrice-holy hymn to the life-giving Trinity, now lay aside every earthly care that we may receive the King of all!”
May we all continually strive to learn these profound hymns and chant them with our children so that we all may have piety of soul, and that through the Divine Liturgy we may witness to them our own relationship with Christ who is Holy now and forever and to the ages of ages, Amen!