Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Now that's a funny title for a blog post in November. Maybe she meant Christmas but got confused. Or maybe she's been in the car taxiing too many kids to theater rehearsals and shows and her mind's a little loopy.
Don't worry, folks. I have complete control of all my faculties. I think. It's just that we joined some friends tonight to help them make Communion bread. This is something I've wanted the kids to experience but since I've never made Brethren in Christ Communion Bread before (it's the recipe found in the Bible), we needed to find a more experienced BICer to show us the ropes. So, John Miller, I'm going to write nice things about you in this post. (And I thank you for not asking any difficult questions during the making of the bread.)
On the way over, we read the going-to-someone's-house rules once again: No fighting, yelling, talking over people, kicking, hitting, pinching, biting, etc. After the behavior review, Eden wanted to talk about Communion bread. She remembered that the holes in the bread represent Jesus' wounds from the nails. It seems she was listening and learning the past two Easters when we had an intergenerational Communion service in our home. Yeah! That's why we did it.
I just love when we can immerse our kids in Biblical stories. A while back I wrote a series of lessons for the kids on the life of Moses. Kind of like the Easter eggs that each contain a symbol from the Easter story, we had a box of objects to remind us of aspects of Moses' life. Then one year, after learning about various Old Testament heroes and the altars of remembrance that they built, we built an altar of thanksgiving to God. We mentioned different ways that He had provided for us through the years as we added each stone to our altar. So it bothered me that Communion, rich in symbolism, was a Biblical act that most churches keep away from children. John and I talked about it and decided that the Last Supper needs to be part of our children's observances.
So I researched the Passover supper that Jesus would have been observing with his disciples the night that he was betrayed and wrote a text for a Last Supper observance that we could use intergenerationally in our home. It combines aspects of the Seder that Jesus observed with the hope that we have in a resurrected Christ. It was offered to the church, encouraging small groups of people to find a way to celebrate Communion in a smaller, more intimate home setting.
But there was one problem: Several people didn't know what to do with the kids in their intergenerational service. Most had not allowed their children to participate in Communion before this night. Not quite knowing why or how to explain my ideas to them, I decided it was time to bring in the big guns so I went to John for some help. Together, we put some order to our thoughts:
"When inviting your guests, you will want to let them know what you have planned. Some people may find the symbolism and service too different for them to participate. You will also want everyone to know that the children will be included in this service. This will likely be a new concept for people and some may find it unacceptable. The following will explain why we believe our children are not only allowed to participate but that they should participate; however, each parent will need to decide this issue for him/herself.
In many churches, as with those in which we were raised, children were not permitted to participate in the act of Communion. They were usually kept in a separate room, sometimes given grapes and crackers as an alternative. Not much about Communion was explained to them. As adults many remember feeling excluded at this time without an explanation as to why.
Obviously, churches have reasons for this approach. Many people quote a passage from 1 Corinthians 11 where Paul chastises the church for receiving the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner:
1 Corinthians 11:28-30 - A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep.
We agree that we should examine ourselves when we receive the Lord's Supper and that it should not be taken lightly. However, this passage is often used to imply that only those who have attained some type of spiritual level or understanding can partake of the Lord’s Supper. Some denominations mandate that only those who are members of that particular church, or those who have been baptized, or those who have participated in some type of prerequisite can observe Communion with that particular church body. Before allowing these verses to determine who can and who cannot participate in Communion, we also must understand the context of what Paul was writing about. Earlier in 1 Corinthians 11, Paul was chastising the church because of the wrong way they were eating and drinking (with division in their ranks, getting drunk, etc.), and when he wrote verses 28 to 30, it was in this context that he said that we ought to examine ourselves.
As we have looked into the traditional Seder, or Passover meal; the meal that Jesus Himself was celebrating on the night He was betrayed, we have come to realize how much this tradition focused on children. It was a re-enactment, a retelling, and a reliving of the flight of the Jews from the slavery of Egypt. Jews were immersed in this retelling using many of their senses – HEARING the story repeated over and over again, SEEING symbols from the Exodus and TASTING reminders of that life and that night. One of the significant goals of Passover was to stimulate the children to ask questions. The symbols and rituals served to arouse their curiosity in this process and to ensure their remembrance.
If Jesus commanded us to observe Communion “in rememberance” of Him, then we believe He intended it to pass on the reality of Jesus to the next generation, just as the Seder was passing on the remembrance of deliverance from Egypt. We, too, are in slavery until we accept Christ. Have our children accepted Christ – to the best of their ability and understanding? Could it be that for each of us, young and old, the delineating factor is whether we understand these concepts in an age-appropriate manner? Could it be that for each of us, some farther along in our spiritual journey and understanding than others, the question is not whether we have attained full knowledge, but whether we are willing to look at Christ’s sacrifice and to take another step closer in understanding what it took to save us from our sins?
Since the Bible does not give us a direct answer to this question, we encourage all parents to explore the Biblical passages on Passover and Communion. Speak with your children about these topics as well as their understanding of sin, remorse and forgiveness. If, as parents, you have decided that Communion should be reserved until each child reaches a certain point in his/her walk, an “age of accountability” perhaps, that is fine. Our encouragement to you would be to explain your reasons to your children. Don’t let them feel excluded. Instead, allow each child to feel accepted for who he is and where he is in his spiritual journey. Share with your children the joy you will feel when one day they can join you in a Communion service."
So while we understand that not every family will come to the same conclusion that we did, I am so thankful for a service that helps explain Communion to me and my children. As we celebrate together around the dinner table, we can better "do this in remembrance of me."
And now that we've participated in the making of the bread, we're also one step closer to being real BICers. Thanks for allowing us to invade your home. We had a great time and you're excellent teachers.