The Kellett children participate in communion, and they’re not baptized. I wanted to share with you why. Maybe this will help us think about why we take communion and the meaning it has for us. I wish I had more space to develop my thoughts but, alas, my word count is limited.
I grew up in a Baptist church. Until I was baptized, I had to pass the bread and cup from the deacon to my dad without partaking. I never understood why I couldn’t participate, other than I couldn’t take communion until I was baptized. I don’t remember when I began to think about my own theology of communion – maybe when Christine and I became parents (that’s when you develop most of your theology anyway – “why did GOD make mosquitoes?”). The most important part of our thinking about communion is that GOD’S table is a place of welcome. Cecil Sherman would say that we don’t police GOD’S table. Here at River Road, we talk about the gifts of GOD for the people of GOD. Mike always reminds us that the table is not our table but the Lord’s table.
For us as parents, it’s not as important that they understand all the symbolism about communion. Children can’t think in the abstract until they reach age 11 or 12, so to expect them to understand all the symbolism about communion isn’t developmentally appropriate. For us, it’s enough that they know that this is a meal that we share to remember how special Jesus is to us and we remember the last meal that Jesus had with his friends, the disciples. And they know this because we talk with them about why we take communion on every first Sunday of the month.
For Christine and me, we want our kids to take communion because it’s something tangible and concrete our children can grab onto (both literally and figuratively). I like what Andy McAllister said in the capital campaign video – “GOD meant for us to have all of our senses…fully engaged in worshipping [GOD] or GOD wouldn’t have given us all of our senses.”
We want our kids to take communion because it shows our children that they belong, that they are a part of this community. As a community of faith, we need to continue to think about how we show our children that they are important to Jesus, important to this world, and important to this church.
Jesus said, “don’t prevent the children from coming to me.” It’s important for Christine and me that we provide opportunities for our children to meet Jesus, to celebrate Jesus, to worship GOD, and to participate with their community of faith in remembering Him.