This past fall I was contacted by an editor at Ancient Faith Publishing to see if I'd like to do a review on the brand new "A Child's Guide to the Divine Liturgy".  I was very pleased to receive my free copy before Christmas and equally delighted to immediately order one to give as a present to my youngest godson!  This is a beautiful publication that should be put into the hands of young Orthodox children! Title:  A Child's Guide to the Divine Liturgy

Author: Ancient Faith Publishing

Illustrator:  Megan Elizabeth Gilbert

Genre:   Children's Book, Orthodox

ISBN: 9781936270170

Pages:  128

Ages:  3-9

Why Did I Choose It?  As I stated above, I was contacted by an editor to see if I'd like to do a review here on the blog.  I was delighted but am certain that seeing there was a book out there on the Divine Liturgy for children would have been enough to entice me to purchase it.  There is a great need for children to have books available to them to teach them about their faith.

A Bit From The Back Cover:  We wish you, and all the children of the Orthodox faith, continual growth toward Christ as we all seek to be lights to the world, and as we help each other toward the Kingdom of Heaven!

My Review:  This pocket-sized book serves the Orthodox child as a toddler with it's colorful pictures and yet grows with the child, offering more at various stages.

The book is divided into 6 color coded sections and includes illustrations, prayers, the Nicene Creed, quotes, and psalms and even vocabulary terms that the older child can read and use as a reference.  The illustrations are beautifully detailed though they could have stood to be a little larger for the younger child's eye.  The text itself is minimum, as it serves to guide a child through the liturgy but not take the place of paying attention to the service. There are actually two 'words' sections- the first being an illustrated, simple 'words to know' section that is ideal for toddlers and early readers, the second being a glossary that would be a nice reference for an older child. I especially like the section on the feast days with the troparians and my son, age 4, says his favorite is the pictures (illustrations) of the angels for the Trisagion Prayer.

Teaching children about our faith is not a trivial task.  Great care must be taken to do so.  This book offers a wonderful guide to be used during the church service and a wonderful tool to use at home to talk about the service and engage in conversations with your child (or godchild or grandchild) to elaborate in more detail about what he or she sees within the surroundings of the church.  This book fits quite snuggly into my little one's 'church bag' that contains all of the things he's allowed to look at or 'fidgit' with during services.  It's a very nice addition.  I highly recommend you make it an important piece of the religious education of the important child in your life.

 

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My little boy likes to scurry over to the isle as the priest walks by with the censor at the beginning of the service so he can deeply inhale the incesne.  He was very upset this past week when there were too many people in our aisle for him to get by in time.  We'll have to remember to stand closer to the end by the isle next time!      

The Orthodox Church service always uses incense in our worship.  The Orthodox Church Liturgy addresses all of the senses and incense, of course, calls upon the sense of smell.  Physical symbols are an important part of worship and incense is one physical reminder of the special purpose at hand while we are present within the church [other physical reminders include water in Baptism, kneeling, etc.] and symbolizes our prayers ascending to God in His heavenly kingdom.

The bible refers to the use of incense in worship. The first mention is in Exodus 25:6, where God listed it among the offerings He desired from the people of Israel.  God also included incense in His detailed directions to Moses for the building of the altar in the tabernacle. And later, God became angry with Israel when they offered incense to foreign gods.  In Psalm 142:2, David says, "Let my prayer arise before you as incense."  In the New Testament, Zacharias was offering incense in the temple when the angel appeared to him and the wise men who came to worship Christ offered gifts of "gold, frankincense, and myrrh".  Incense is also mentioned several times in the Book of Revelation indicating that it is present in heaven.

Incense, however, was not commonly used by the Church during the first three centuries.  This, unfortunately, was due to the the Romans practice of asking Christians to renounce their faith and accept pagan worship and having the person offer incense to the image of the Roman emperor as a test to their renunciation. When this terrible era of persecutions ended, the Church was able to reintroduce incense into worship in its proper way.

Many Orthodox Christians use incense in their homes, the domestic church,  as a  physical and symbolic reminder (one of many). For when we use incense in worship the way we do, it doesn't matter where we are or what we are doing, we are reminded of the  Kingdom of God.

LORD, I Have Cried Out Unto You: hear me! Hear me, O Lord!
Lord, I Have Cried Out Unto You: hear me!
Receive the voice of my prayer!
When I call upon You, hear me, O Lord!
Let my prayer arise in Your sight as incense,
And let the lifting up of my hands be an evening sacrifice.
Hear me, O Lord!

It's a beautiful Sunday.  It's been a beautiful weekend.  It is my kind of perfect weather.  All sunny with temperatures in the mid 60's.  I LOVE it!  Not too cold, not too hot and the beautiful sun I love!

We went to Liturgy this morning.  Alexander wore his blanket, once again, as the priest wears his vestments.  He had his plastic rings with him that are attatched together so that he can swing them like the priest's censor.  It is really adorable to see him act the part.  He always watches to see when Fr. Dan puts down his censor so that he himself puts down his.  He picks up his little blue prayer book when Fr. Dan picks up the Gospel Book.  He prostrates on the ground when Fr. Dan does up in front of the altar.  And he gets very very excited at the end of the service when it is time to venerate the cross. Today he got overly excited and headed up the aisle to the front of the church where Fr. Dan was standing BEFORE it was time to do so.  🙂  It was cute.  Fr. Dan smiled.

I hope I keep up with this blog.  I think it could be very therapeutic for me and really get me back into the desire to write.  I have the desire, but not the inclination to set aside the time.  I have a hard time staying on track of the task of hand lately.  It's not just having a toddler.  Even when our nanny is hear during the day, I'm able to get things done, but in small steps because I seldom have a day where I stay focused on just one task at a time to really accomplish anything major.  I guess I need to go back to making lists and forcing myself to wait until one thing is finished before moving on.  That's the hard part.  I make a list and then I see all that stuff that needs done and I jump around from thing to thing or get distracted and then I feel like I've accomplilshed nothing.  So setting aside time for me to write on here may be difficult.    And trying to take time to learn all the ins and outs of this blog will take time too.