Yep, I'm late again. Sorry, folks!
The Lord’s Supper
14 When the hour had come, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him. 15 And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; 18 for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 20 And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.
The last Sunday of every month, my church has communion. We are a Nazarene church (think Protestant, Wesleyan), and run around 40 people. It's a pretty nice little place, where we all know each other, and my husband is the pastor.
It used to be that I would never think of handing over communion stuff to my kids. 1. They are little (6, 4, 2) 2. They are messy. 3. Do they really understand it?
But since we've being doing it every month, they're starting to take notice. They recognize this passage their Daddy reads about every 4 weeks. They see the congregation all taking a little piece of bread, and a little cup of juice all at the same time.
Last month, my 4 year old asked if he could do it as well. So while my husband read the passages, I explained that we take communion to remember Christ's death for our sins, to celebrate him rising again to free us from those sins. That it is a very serious thing.
Yesterday, all three of my kids did communion with me, though my 2 year old just thought it was a very small snack.
Anyway, I read this passage this morning with that thought in mind, of my kids, of my list of reasons why they shouldn't take communion, and #3 really stood out to me. Do they really understand it?
Do ANY of us really understand it? For that matter, did the DISCIPLES understand it? They knew it was the Passover meal, it was a special celebration for their people. But did they understand the significance of what Jesus was doing, was saying?
Probably not so much right at that moment.
Probably not so much right at that moment.
But later, later I think they go it.
So while my kids probably don't quite grasp the full significance of communion, I still welcome the chance to explain it to them, to pass out the bread and juice, to pray with them. Because while they may not understand it now, while we may only see as through a dark glass now, someday we will all understand, and we will all see clearly.
We wrestled, too, for a while with whether or not our girls (now 9 and almost-12) should participate in communion services. We decided a few years ago that we would allow it because, like you concluded, it's not like any of us, even as adults, really fully comprehend the significance. And since their simple, uncomplicated faith and understanding is exactly what Jesus commends, to say they don't understand "well enough" to partake is a bit of a weak argument! We believe, too, that including them in these customs and celebrations is following God's command to teach our children when we sit, when we move from place to place, when we go to bed, and when we rise. There's very little activity not included in those categories!! Children will have been present when the Passover and other Jewish feasts were celebrated, so we see no reason to exclude them from the Lord's Supper.
(and fortunately, we attended a church that didn't have a problem with kids taking communion!)
A post worth waiting for, Tiffany!!! Beautiful!
We have wrestled with the idea of young children taking communion as well. So far our children have not partaken. Most of the time, the youngest two are in kids church during communion so it's not an issue for them. The older 2 kids we have explained it to them and told them that when they feel ready to, that they can partake. Soon, we will upgrade that to "should" partake.
The issue I struggle with is that it's one thing to "understand" it at their level, but it's also another thing to be able to approach it with enough reverence and respect. I see some kids taking communion that are laughing and whispering to each other, not even paying attention to what the pastor is saying, until it's time to eat their snack - is what it comes across as to me. That I don't like as it comes across as disrespectful and irreverent. IMO, they need to be able to understand, and to sit still enough and quiet enough to demonstrate they understand the significance of the celebration/commemoration. That will, of course, be a different age for each child. For us, that's what we're waiting for.
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