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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Communion For Children: A Poll

photo by spisharam

Our church took communion this past Sunday. After the trays of wafers had been passed around and we partook of remembering Christ’s body, the trays of grape juice were passed. Somewhere behind me a wee voice plaintively whispered, how come I don’t get one?

I didn’t turn around to see how old the child was, but the voice sounded like he or she was five or under. I began thinking - at what age do you let your child partake of holy communion, and why?

Because of our moving around we’ve been in all kinds of churches with all kinds of expectations. Some offered separate children’s services for the younger ones while others insisted that children, no matter the age, sit with their parents during the service. Some expressed preference that only those who had made a profession of faith could join in communion, while others never said anything about who could or couldn’t take part.

Except when our youngest two were babies, most of the time our children sat with us during the service. As I recall, we allowed our children to participate in communion only when we felt they could follow the ritual of taking the bread and juice together with the congregation, and not treat the celebration like a mini-snack time. We also spent time explaining to them, in as basic of terms as we could, what we were celebrating. We realized a lot of the explanation would be abstract, but we were trying to convey that holy communion was a special time of remembrance that we did because we loved Jesus. This discussion usually came after we got home from church and after we ourselves heard, how come I don’t get one?

How about you? When do (or did) you let your child participate in holy communion, and why? What kind of explanation, if any, did you offer for your choice? I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer here; I think it’s mostly a matter of preference and/or possibly conviction. I’m just purely curious.

Choose one answer that fits best on the poll, and I’d love for you to elaborate in the comment section below. I’ll share the poll results on Saturday.

Please include a comment by clicking on the link below. That way you can elaborate on your thoughts.

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4 comments:

JoJo Tabares said...

Calvary Chapels usually have the kids in their own service so they can learn at their own age level. I think they ask that you not have your children in the sanctuary until they are about 14. My dd did come in with the adults at that age and therefore participated with the adults.

Anne said...

Hi Deb,

Children who have been baptized can participate in the Lord's Supper at our church. I was raised Catholic, so we couldn't receive communion until we had celebrated the sacrament at about age 7. But as a Baptist, I like the public profession of faith idea as a prerequisite. Didn't Jesus challenge us to be willing to share His cup with Him? That was a cup of suffering that leads to victory with Him. Until we can concretely understand what it means to partake of His supper, perhaps we should have to wait and contemplate why we're waiting. Just a thought.

Joy said...

I never took Communion until after I accepted Jesus. My own children did not participate either. Both did accept Christ at an early age, but we still talked about what it means to participate in Communion.
Before they were ready to take Communion we would just whisper to them that they will be able to take Communion when they are ready. After church we would explain in a positive way that they needed to make an important decision and when they were ready they could do Communion too.
Of course you should have seen my daughters face the first time she put a wafer in her mouth. It was not what she expected. :)
Funny story: When I was a little girl probably about 7, I was sitting by my mom in church and I was holding my tiny cup of grape juice waiting for the Pastor to tell us to drink and a fly flew into my juice. My Mom got tickled. So I'll always remember Communion from my childhood. :)

Deb Burton said...

I can see that there is probably going to be all kinds of answers, depending on the doctrines and traditions of any given denomination. Very interesting so far.

And Joy, what in the world did you do with that fly??