There is something so special and unique about the way that God has instructed us to remember and celebrate him and what he has done for us. We are a forgetful race. We are quick to get caught up in the mess of life, the busy days and the mundane routine that comes at us day after day, week after week.
God, being our intimate creator, knows us so well. He knows how forgetful we are. He knows how quick our hearts wander from soaking in the knowledge of His complete, unconditional - one way love that he showed us by dying on the cross in our place.
Therefore he gave us a rhythm, a way of continually celebrating and reminding ourselves of his great love and sacrifice for us. Matthew 26:17-30; Mark 14:12-26; Luke 22:7-19 - all recount the story of Jesus giving the disciples a physical thing to do - to remember an important truth.
“After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.” And he took the bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them saying “This is my body given for you do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:17-19)
This rhythm cannot become another thing we do. It needs to be celebrated, it needs to be taught using more than one sense. This is why we have a quarterly inclusion of the elementary age children in the adult service. So that the children can witness and participate in the amazing celebration of communion together with their church family.
Psalm 78:3&4 “What we have heard and known, what our father have told us. We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord, his power, and the wonders he has done.” We need to tell the ‘next generation’ of the praiseworthy things God had done! In sharing in communion together - we are doing just that. We are celebrating the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ - a praiseworthy deed indeed!
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 “…impress them on your children….” This passage implores the parents to use every opportunity, in the home, while they walk about, where ever you go together to talk about the ways of God.
Ephesians 6:4b “…Fathers… bring them up in the train and instruction of the Lord.”
Engage your children in conversation about why we do what we do. Talk together to gain understanding of the purpose of communion. Express what you think and feel about being able to participate in the communion celebration.
We all do a little better with forewarning when it comes to changes in expectation and routines. Be sure talk with your children about the changes in routine in the week coming up to the service they will be included with the adults.
Come up with different ideas to promote learning, conversation and engagement. As the children will be present for the sermon as well as communion, discuss different strategies that they can use to help them listen and pay attention.
Provide note taking tools; there will be some available at the children’s ministry kiosk; but they may want to bring a journal of their own to build the habit. Encourage younger children to draw a picture of what they hear or see.
Bring their own Bible so they can follow along.
Colouring pages/crayons/pencil crayons are a great way to help your children engage. It’s amazing how much listening can happen while colouring.
Engage your children in conversation before and after. Ask them questions:
As with most teaching and guiding, it is not all pleasant or easy. Sitting and listening, being semi-still and semi-silent of the duration of a service are skills that come with age and practice. Our purpose in having the children join in the adult service is for them to be active learners. For us as adults to lead by example, for the children to observe us work out what it means to be committed followers of Jesus Christ.