Today I helped in our children’s teaching time which goes on during the sermon part of our morning worship service. The lesson covered the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem to the last supper. My role today was to lead the kids through an explanation of what communion is all about and to share in this with them.
We had a dozen of the wildest kids today. I’m sure glad Jesus knows what it is like to be a nine year old boy because otherwise – well lets just say one of the boys seemed to think the answer to every question was “camel”. Not sure what he had for breakfast!
So, Lauralea was doing the preliminaries and they were all supposed to be sitting on the carpet around, listening. That is where the “camel” answers started to every question. At that point I was sending up silent prayers to God for help. What on earth was I going to say that would convey the importance of the sacrament that we were about to talk about?
Then we moved to the table where the elements were waiting and they sat. And they more or less listened with attention. I hope they carried away something of meaning. Maybe in their childish ways they even experienced some of God’s love and grace – they certainly came as little children – silliness, inappropriateness, restlessness and all.
And this is basically what they were taught –
When someone very special to you has to go away, they sometimes will leave you a keepsake to remember them by. Sometimes the keepsake is a picture, sometimes it is a special piece of jewelry or another object that the person used. Sometimes, we remember a special person when we hear a favorite song of theirs being sung or go to visit a special spot that they liked to visit.
When Jesus was getting ready to leave his disciples, he knew that they would miss him. They didn’t understand what was happening and Jesus knew they were going to feel very lonely and confused. He knew that they would need a special way to be reminded of everything he had talked to them about and of everything that he would be doing for them in the next few days.
So Jesus gave the people who loved him a special gift – a special way to celebrate to remember him by.
The Jewish people were used to celebrating special feasts to remember what God had done for them. They were actually celebrating one – the Passover – when Jesus gave them the special gift of remembrance from him that we call “communion”.
When we share communion together, we are worshipping Jesus. We are remembering together that Jesus died in our place, as a sacrifice to God for our sins. That is why we talk about remembering Jesus’ body that was broken for us when we eat the communion bread. And we remember that Jesus shed his blood for us when we drink the “wine” or juice. When we take communion we are being obedient to God by remembering that he died for us.
When we take communion, it is a good time to think about how much God loved us and about how much Jesus gave us. Since it is a special gift to us, we should never treat it with disrespect. When we eat the bread and drink the juice think about what it means. Remember what Jesus did and how much he loves us.