With four children (and soon-to-be five) under the age of six, I am naturally interested in the topic of children and worship. But it's not just for my own children. As a pastor I am interested in all the little lambs who need to hear the voice of their shepherd.
I believe that Lutherans approach this topic from a rather unique perspective. (Unique because so many others do do not approach it in the same way.) The biblical teachings of original sin, the way the Holy Spirit works faith through the means of grace, and the understanding of the primary purpose of public worship as God's service to us—all these affect the way we think about the place of children in worship.
I want to share with you an audio segment from the Lutheran radio show "Issues, etc." It is a discussion about this topic that I found useful. You'll can listen to it here on the website or click the link below if that doesn't work. I also included a link to another book that talks about children and worship.
The picture here is part of an altarpiece in Wittenberg. I shared this with our school kids in chapel this morning. The point is pretty easy to get. Martin Luther preaches in such a way that Christ is the center of his preaching and the people's worship. But take a look at the congregation. Notice the kids right in the front. Even an infant sitting on a lap. Receiving God's gifts right along with the others. Someday I hope to have a good-sized print of this painting hanging in my study.