22 Sep Deepening Your Experience of Communion
Part of living out your faith with your children is equipping them to take communion with you. On Sunday we are offering a parent/child communion class for kids and their parents. But we also pray that their instruction does not end there. We all need reminders of how to prepare ourselves to come to the table. Too often , the only time we actually prepare ourselves to take communion are in the few moments leading up to it – however, as we gather around the Lord’s table with family and friends we have an opportunity to deepen this spiritual practice and model for our children a sacred response to this sacred meal.
Elizabeth Caldwell, author of Rethinking the Sacraments for Children, suggests we take a “four step” approach to prepare ourselves and our children to take communion.
- She first suggests we create space for Thanksgiving . On Saturday evening, or even Sunday morning, ask family members to share what they are thankful for . We see over and over in scripture that gratitude always precedes a miracle. And even in hard times, we can model for our children being thankful IN all things – even if we aren’t thankful FOR all things!
- She also suggests making time for Remembrance: take a few moments to read the story of the Last Supper as a family. You could also have one of your children create a symbol for communion that is displayed on your family table the weekend your church has communion. Or during a hurried week, on the way home from church talk about your own first communion. What did it mean for you then – how has your understanding or experience of taking communion changed?
- She encourages families to work towards a time of family blessings before meals: Let the children take turns saying a blessing before meals, and allow them to choose which blessing they will say – parents need to “take a turn” also. During the meal you can emphasize that the Lord’s Supper is like a family table where the church gathers to share in the same bread and the same cup because the people in the church belong to each other and to God.
- And then, during communion, engage your children in the experience – explain the importance of confessing our sins and being reconciled to Christ. Talk about why we do communion the way we do.
Taking communion with your children creates faith memories that are crucial to their spiritual formation. And deepening your own practice of preparation sets this experience apart as a key part of our corporate worship.