Beginning this first Sunday of March, we are inviting all children and youth to join the family here at St. John’s UMC for communion during worship services. Children and youth are ALWAYS welcome and we want our ministries to reflect this core belief. Children’s chapel is available the other weeks of the month and children dismiss to chapel following the offering, but we are experimenting with having children stay in worship on Communion Sundays. Kids bags and activities will be provided, so please grab one on your way into worship. And if you would like for your child to learn more about this important sacrament, Pastor Tiffany would love to sit with you and your child to talk about this important way we experience Jesus. Please read below to hear more about why we believe that children joining us for communion is so important.
My favorite Sundays growing up were Communion Sundays. The memories are so clear to me….I can close my eyes and see, hear, taste….remember.
Walking with my Mama and Papa up to the center of the church.
My godmother, Duff, playing the hymns that I can sing by heart.
The pastor bending down to give me a piece of yummy bread that I lovingly named ‘Josie’s bread’ after the dear saint who baked the bread each week. Josie learned how much I loved the bread and would bake me an extra loaf each month.
The liturgy: “the body of Christ broken for you…..the blood of Christ shed for you” resonated at a deep and precious place within me, even as a little girl.
I remember so clearly and yet I I still struggle to articulate the mystery of communion.
These crystal clear moments define why I so firmly believe that this means of grace, as John Wesley called it, is and should be available to all of God’s children……particularly, to our youngest brothers and sisters: children. Some will say “children cannot understand this mystery” to which I reply strongly: Who of us do?? Are we not all like children, sitting at the table of Christ in awe of this mystery? This sacrifice. And I dare say that if we think that we have it all ‘figured out’, we truly do not ‘get’ the mystery of communion. I struggle to explain it other than to fall back on the mystery of it all. I’ve spent more hours and days and likely years reflecting on the sacraments (baptism and holy communion) and I have more questions than I have answers. This again, leans into the mystery and miracle of it all: that God became flesh, like one of us, and died…..for us. For you. For me. For everyone. And I WANT our children to hear, see, know, and TASTE this mystery because God only knows what miracles and grace might occur in their young lives as they experience in real and tangible ways how much God loves them.
This is my impassioned plea to us, but to all churches, to invite our children to the table set before us. It is one of the reasons that I truly love our theological heritage that welcomes children into the family of God before they might even have the words to articulate what they are experiencing. I was one of those children who experienced the beautiful grace of God at the table….the holy table. I am one who continues to spend my life living out that mystery that I experienced munching on Josie’s bread, holding my parents hands, and then walking back to my seat surrounded by a family of faith. This is powerful and it is something that I feel I will only experience more fully one day when I stand at the heavenly banquet with all the saints, feasting with Jesus. Only then will ANY of us even begin to comprehend this mystery. This grace. This miracle.
Come….all are welcome. The table is ready.