Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.
- Mark 10:14
Communion for Children
As parents and guardians, whether your child takes Communion or not is your decision. If your child has begun to ask questions about the sacrament, the following may be helpful to you. Many of us were raised in a tradition which did not allow children to share in the Lord's Supper until, at a particular age; they became "communicant members" of the church. Today we find that children are often invited to partake of the Lord's Supper from early childhood. This is both a great blessing and a tremendous responsibility. Our children make a real contribution to the life and vitality of the church. By welcoming them at the Lord's Supper, we are saying, "Yes, they do belong and are an important part of the church."
Time and time again Jesus demonstrated His special love for children. "Of such," he said, "are the Kingdom of God," and "He took them in his arms and blessed them." The Bible tells us that the promise of life in Christ is given "to you and your children."
Christ does not require a full knowledge and understanding of the meaning and symbolism surrounding the Lord's Supper before we can participate. Instead, He invites all to come to him with the simple trust of children and with the expectation that through participation in the Supper, within the fellowship of the church, the Holy Spirit will move in each of our lives and join us in Holy Communion.
Spiritual growth is a lifelong process. The understanding and significance of Communion is part of this lifelong spiritual growth process. At any age we can "experience the richness of the sacrament long before we can intellectualize its meaning." When children participate in worship and Communion with their families, and model the behavior of their parents, their personal understanding of the sacrament begins to grow.
What is a Sacrament?
A sacrament is a special act of Christian worship which uses visible signs to present God's love for us in Jesus Christ. We believe that two sacraments were given by Jesus: baptism and the Lord's Supper. In worship we have both signs that we hear and signs that we see. In the sermon we hear about God's love. In the sacraments, we have visible signs that let us see God's love acted out.
Grace is a special word that Christians use to talk about God's love. It points to the fact God loves us freely and that we do not have to earn God's love. God's grace was shown to us in the gift of His son, Jesus Christ. We often think of the sacraments as a gift. There are some gifts that we receive that are made especially for us. These gifts are so special that each time we use them; the person who made them almost seems to be present again. The sacraments are like these special gifts. They not only help us to remember God's grace given to us in Jesus Christ, but they actually make Christ present to us through the Holy Spirit.
What is the Lord's Supper? In the Lord’s Supper, God's family gathers together for a special celebration meal to remember Jesus' death. The words remind us of the night before Jesus died. When we eat the bread and drink from the cup it is important to remember the love that Jesus has for us and to give thanks in our hearts.
When we open the Communion table to the gifts that our children will bring, we will all have a different sense of the meaning behind Christ’s words, "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these." At the Communion table all of God’s people, including children, receive God’s gift of love in Jesus Christ and are nourished in the faith and challenged to be disciples.
All children 1st grade and older are invited to the table on World Communion Sunday in October.