If a service is seriously and unusually interrupted by a kid and it causes anger...are we truly worshipping Christ? I seriously doubt it, rather are we not actually worshipping our liturgy?


Anonymous said…
Not knowing the exact circumstances I can't say in this particular situation, but I would submit that it is better to continue to try and pray and worship, even when angry or distracted than not. When speaking of personal prayer, many of the Church Fathers exhort us to pray even when we do not want to, when our heart isn't in it, even when our prayers seem dry and meaningless, because they say that God will see that we are making the effort and send us his grace to help us. I don't see why the same should not be true in our communal prayer life.
Anonymous said…
Well, I would second Rade's comments and add the following question. If we are sinful are we truly worshiping Christ? Anger is just another sin. Am I totally attentive during the service? What thoughts pass through? Isn't a relief when it is just anger? Doesn't worship really start when I come to myself with pigs?

joel said…
Although i'm not sure that anger is a sin as much as what compells the anger, I remember wrestling with this back in California, when attending a house church, and i always felt convicted when i allowed my self to become angered by the 'nuisance' of a child. i definitely think i needed to be rebuked in those moments.
fdj said…
This is completely hypothetical.

How can we tell if we are losing track of real worship and are instead just getting caught up in the wonders and formality of it all. Something, I think we Orthodoxy need to be keenly aware of...perhaps we need to schedule a regular visit from a Holy Fool to screw up a liturgy or two.

Another example: If we are actually serving in the service and one of our co-servers screws up our reaction perhaps indicative of where our hearts were to begin with?

Yes, Rick, come to ourselves with Pigs...and in that precise moment, would we not have joy and laughter to see a little child knock over a censing deacon? Or at least, not anger...or MAYBE anger at which time we can dive right back in with the pigs.

The question: how can you tell when you are overly concerned with liturgics, form etc at the expense of love and joy? And I'm not in any way saying that they are dichotomous...far from it...but we Orthodox need to be keenly aware...cautious...alert.

For what it's worth Rick, my liturgical distractions mostly revolve around fighting anger with regard to kids doing things like hurling a booger at the bishop's mitre.
Luz the Magpie said…
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Luz the Magpie said…
~previous post removed due to atrocious typos~

Depends on the circumstances but kids who are allowed to squawk and run about regularly in church are a massive pain in the neck. My mum managed to keep six of us on a tight rein in church and she wasn't a wonderworker by anyone's standards. It isn't kind or tolerant to let kids cry or play throughout the liturgy and, contrary to popular opinion it does not come under the heading of "suffer the little children to come unto Me", nor is it an Orthodox tradition. I believe it deprives the children themselves of the joy of the liturgy as much as everyonelse.

The stage-managed perfection of some Anglo-Catholic and RC churches always bothers me when I see it in Orthodoxy though I haven't much unless there's a converted MoC in the congregation :-) There again, perhaps that is the romance of growing up in the diaspora.
Munkee said…
In Orthodoxy I've come to appreciate the buzz and humm of children in the sanctuary...the occasional laughter, chatter, or even crying have become endearing sounds and evoke feelings of great joy and warmth and thankfulness. As a protestant when, it was more a mentality of, "Shut up, i'm worshipping." Rather than an understanding that I could tolerate some noise in service because it wasn't just taking place on my behalf.

I should also note this issue has become magnified for me as the parent of two young ones, in a parish that has gone from mostly Junior High/High school age kids to a massive infant thru preschool addition we have 5 ladies who are pregnant at the present. This is going to be some youth group! I would recommend staying away from St. Barnabas for the next 5 or so years if you're particularly sensitive to children.
Munkee said…
sorry, protestant slip...Children in the nave, not sanctuary. Although some of our acolytes are quite young.
fdj said…
Aaron, you are an amazing fellow and display a righteous attitdue I think. I want to be in the same place - where though aware and responsible for my kids (an important point Luz), always recognizing that the Liturgy is NOT just for me, indeed NOT just for ANYONE.

If the words are slipped up, if the harmony of the choir is off, if a candlstand is tipped, or an icon knocked off by adoring albeit clumsy little hands: have we NOT received the Body and Blood? Have we NOT entered into the timelessness of the Kingdom?

One of the worst things we could scratch that...I could do is to kill a child's spirit and joy for the sake of it "being done perfectly."

Maybe...just maybe... our children are the Holy Fools we need..prophets of God sent to teach us (read: me) to relax and quit being such a pragmatic and Pharisaic jerk?

But this isn't just about kids...its important I make that point.
Luz the Magpie said…
When my big brother (now a parish priest) was a server the rule was: don't give him anything flammable. When my little brother (now a monk) was a server he was notorious for dropping ikons (no-one minded too much). When my sister and I played aeroplanes during the liturgy the Matushka hauled us out and threated us direly in broken Russian. We had no idea what she was on about but were both struck with an overpowering desire to shut up and stand still. We still stand quietly to this day some 30 years later :-)

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