I remember a time when communion was just a plate of crackers and grape juice being passed from row to row. (I always tried to steal extra crackers but my hand got ‘popped’ by my mother.) I figured the reason was that there wasn’t enough of Jesus to go around.
Nevertheless, my hunger for these ‘delicious’ communion crackers could not be satisfied! I was a major plunderer as a child, so I dug and dug around the storage closet at our church until I found it: the holy grail...or in my case, the box of forbidden crackers. I hunkered down in the closet, polishing off the box and sat, somewhat satisfied, in my bloated state.
It wasn’t because I particularly enjoyed the taste (read: cardboard) but it was the mere fact that I wasn’t allowed to have as many as I wanted. Suffice to say, I didn’t understand the purpose of communion, other than we got to eat a pre-lunch snack in church. And so it is with many young children.
During Easter, our families take part in many traditions, chief among them is communion. So while we are celebrating this time in our homes, parents are taking on the role of pastor more fully.
For many families, communion isn’t something we talk about extensively. How do you explain to a five-year old that they’re partaking of “body” and “blood”? That’s where it becomes important to understand the purpose behind communion before communicating it to your children.
Communion, while a holy tradition, is rather simple. Here are easy ways to clarify why we as Christians still take part in communion.
Where does the idea of communion come from?
The whole premise behind communion came from Jesus himself! If you recall, Jesus and His disciples were sitting down to their last supper (Passover) and He used this time to explain what event would happen next (the cross.) While the disciples weren’t fully aware of what would come to pass, Jesus wanted them, and subsequently all Christians, to use communion as a way to remember Him, together. Which is why we use a liquid to represent His blood, which was spilled to cleanse our sins, and bread for His body, which was beaten and broken for us.
Kids memory verse: Luke 22: 19 “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
Who participates in communion?
Communion is for anyone who has asked Jesus into their hearts. While this can be a difficult thing for kids to understand, it’s also imperative that we get this distinction right. For those who have put their trust fully in Jesus, we may eat and drink but for those who don’t yet have that relationship with Christ, it’s better if they abstain. It’s also important to note that we cannot judge the intentions of someone’s heart and they may take of communion if they choose. We do not have the authority to say whether someone can take part.
To partake in communion is to remember the sacrifice Jesus made in order for us to be in union with the Father. For those who do not believe, they cannot be united with God. While this may seem harsh, it also comes back to the basic principle of salvation.
Kids memory verse: John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Should my child take communion?
If you’re reading this, then your child is probably enrolled in RS Kids or is a part of your church’s children’s ministry, which is an amazing thing! But you may be wondering, if communion is for those who have accepted Jesus, are children included in that?
If your child is old enough to understand the premise of sin, sincerely accept Jesus as their savior, and put their faith in the Father, then absolutely they may partake! But, just like with any other human, the basic qualification for communion is a relationship with Christ, and that goes for children as well.
Kids memory verse: 1 Corinthians 11:28-29 “Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.”
How to take communion at home:
God never said the ‘blood’ must be grape juice or wine. He also didn’t say the ‘body’ must be the prepackaged crackers I so easily enjoyed as a child. The blood and body are meant to be representations of His sacrifice. You can take communion with Mountain Dew and Cheez-Its if that’s what you have. The important part of communion is the remembrance of Jesus and the gift of salvation bought through His suffering.
We hope this article helps you share more of Jesus with your kids. As Easter fast approaches, we encourage you and your family to take communion together and discuss the great and powerful gift we have in Christ. Thank you for being a part of Rock Springs Church!
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