bls rightly points us to Ben Myers’ wonderful post on his son’s experience of the Easter Vigil.
All I can add is: YES!
Well, actually, I know I can’t help myself from adding a bit more…
First, I said a while ago that I needed to write up how M used to do her children’s mass because it truly was exemplary as far as I’m concerned. It was a well-done Anglo-Catholic prayer book low mass that incorporated children, but talked down neither to them nor to their parents. And both the kids and the parents loved it. I do actually need to write that up…
Second, Ben Myers’ observations parallel mine. The girls were in church quite a lot over the last few days, even going all three Nocturns at the Tenebrae. (I took them home and put them to bed so they didn’t get through Lauds. My decision—not theirs.) They loved it. Heading home, G’s principal comment after chanting through 12 odd psalms was “That’s what real Christian music is supposed to sound like, not the praise stuff they make us sing in chapel [at school].”
H is used to hearing Anglican Chant in church; she wasn’t used to us singing Gregorian tones there (we have sung it at home a few times), but after the Tenebrae she was at it like a pro—and insisted that we sing along with the choir at the Vigil. The psalms in our leaflets were unpointed, but she did a fine job of sight-pointing with me. (So, if my 8 year old can pick it up, why do some feel that adult congregations can’t…?)
Because the sign-up sheet was left unguarded in the parish hall, both girls signed up to serve as lectors, several times. They did great. Yes, we practiced and went over words, and worked on projecting and all. (H never did fully wrap her tongue around “ordinances” and also ended up with one syllable to many or to few…) But at 10 and 8, they read just as well as the adult lectors.
Kids want to sing, they want to serve, they want to have the full-body experience. Yes, they want to play with fire. And we should let them! Carefully, of course. They neither want nor need a second-class liturgy. They went it well-done and as rich and deep as the rest of us.