Maria Augusta Trapp, aka "Fraulein Maria", the real-life mother of the VonTrapp Family Singers, describes the second half of the Church Year, "as "The Green Meadow", because of the green color of the vestments on the Sundays after Pentecost, whereas, until then, they had been violet, red, or white."
After Pentecost and Trinity Sunday, the Church Year shifts from the Time of Easter, to the Time of the Church. Growing up, I always thought this time of the Church Year seemed to drag on and on. No Christmas cookies to bake or eggs to hide, or as my brothers would describe it, no Dangerliker's "cookie game" or "Peep wars" to be held. (Of course, I'll share those gems when the time is right!) Beyond our confectionery delights, attendance was down at church during the summer months, there just wasn't the same excitement of festivity, and the vestments - always green.
Even today, I'm faced with many of the same thoughts, but in a new way. As we celebrate the Church Year in our home, and use the readings, traditions, songs, crafts, decorations and edibles as a means to talk about the saving work of Christ, we get past Trinity Sunday and I'm stuck thinking, "Now what?" How can I continue to prepare my children for worship and the feasts of the church when no holidays are nearing? So we started reading a Psalm a day.
First I cut 150 green paper squares, then Adelae drew a cross on one side, I wrote numbers 1-150 on the other side, and we placed them in a pretty glass refrigerator container. Each morning, she pulls a number. We find the Psalm (a good practice for learning "big numbers"!) and read it over breakfast. If we can find a part of the liturgy, such as for Psalm 51, or a hymn that matches, we sing that too.
Before we read, I ask Adelae to listen for a word that "sticks out" to her, maybe a word she likes, knows, or doesn't understand. Once I'm done reading, I ask her, "What word did you notice?" Sometimes, she doesn't notice anything! So I read it again. More frequently, she'll notice a really great word, and it sparks our conversation about the Psalm. Finally, we pick a verse or part of a verse we'd like to remember, and say it to each other throughout the day. The Psalm also serves to lead us into our morning prayer.
To help remember and display the verse we made a mini dry erase board (as seen all over Pintrest) out of an inexpensive picture frame, filled with a yellow print scrapbook paper trimmed to fit. Any light color of scrapbook paper would work. Of course, we've been primarily using a green dry erase marker for the "Green Meadow" Time of the Church!
Some of the Psalms are challenging to discuss with such young children. Still, God gives His Word for all ages, and we can never underestimate how much our children comprehend, let alone the power of the Holy Spirit. One day we read Psalm 41 and the word Adelae noticed was "sickbed". "The Lord sustains him on his sickbed; in his illness you restore him to full health." Psalm 41:3 What a conversation we had about her ouchies, and about ill family members, and of the healing Jesus gives in the forgiveness of sin and eternal life with Him.God heals!
Baby Pete's favorite part? Singing the Gloria at the end of each Psalm. He looks so alert every time we sing it; he even stops eating!
The theme of our Psalm-a-Day Green Meadow Season has become one repeated throughout the Psalms, "HIS STEADFAST LOVE ENDURES FOREVER!" - a grand message indeed!
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever. Amen.
Thank you for reading!
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p.s. The morning after I posted this, I listened to a very good Issues Etc. radio segment that happened to correspond with this posting, and triggered me to note that most days we use the Lutheran Service Book, our hymnal, to read our Psalm. The Psalms are listed in the front of the hymnal, and while we could use the Bible, it's a lot easier to flip forward a few pages and find a hymn or part of the liturgy to sing. Click to listen: Using the Hymnal Every Day