While I was down in Nashville for the Getty’s Sing! conference I had the great pleasure of visiting Edgefield Church. We received a warm welcome, met some other conference goers, and joined in some wonderful singing. Mark Dever was the guest preacher that day and he shared Exodus 12 with us, going through the first Passover.
One set of verses that stuck out during the sermon was Exodus 12:26-27 “And when your children ask you, ‘What does this ceremony mean to you?’ then tell them, ‘it is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians.'”
Pastor Dever then drew the connection between that and baptism. Why do we do baptisms in front of others? Why invite children to see a baptism? So that they will be inspired to ask “what does this ceremony mean?”
And if we do this with baptisms, why not with communion?
At Calvary we normally practice communion on the first Sunday of the month. We’ll have our normal order of service but with a little bit shorter sermon so that we can share communion at the end.
The thing is, by this time all the kids have already gone to children’s church.
They’re not there to ask “what does this ceremony mean to you?”
This stuck with me and when I got back I talked with Pastor Matt and Pastor Dan. They agreed and thought it would be a good idea to have communion with the kids still present. I also thought it would be good to send a letter out to the parents that would help them talk with their kids about communion. Pastor Matt and Dan agreed again and thought it would be good for me to write the letter.
I’m honored to have had the chance to write this and I hope it helps you reflect on why we take communion.
Dear Calvary Family,
This Sunday we have the joy of sharing communion together. We do this every month, but this Sunday will be a little different. Instead of taking communion after the sermon, we will set aside a larger portion of our worship service to reflect on and proclaim, the life, death, resurrection, and future return of Christ.
Perhaps the most significant part of this change in the order of service is that our children will be with us as we take communion together. This has profound implications when it comes to practicing Open Communion.
Practicing Open Communion means anyone, regardless of their denomination or church membership, who proclaims with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believes in their heart that God raised Him from the dead (Romans 10:9) is welcome to join us at the Lord’s table. In one sense, this is inclusive, inviting all to come. However, it is also exclusive. Only those who have put their faith in Christ should eat the bread and drink from the cup.
Parents, this is where you come in.
It is crucial that your children understand what communion is and if they should join when we share the elements. Before Sunday, take some time to talk with your children about communion. If your child is too young to understand communion, then it is good for them to see it practiced so that they are inspired to ask questions. Listed below are some of the major points about what communion is, why we practice it, and who should share in it.
- It is a remembrance of Christ’s body and the life he lived (Matthew 26:26)
- It is a proclamation of the Lord’s death and of His future return (1 Cor. 11:26)
- It is the New Covenant (Luke 22:20). Christians do not sacrifice animals to God because Christ is our perfect and eternal sacrificial lamb (Heb. 9:11-15)
- It is a practice that joins us with all the saints that have come before us, crossing the gap of 2000 years to lead us directly to Christ and His disciples at the Last Supper.
- It identifies us as a local church that is part of God’s global church
- Only those who have “examined themselves” and understand that by participating in communion they are proclaiming Christ, should take communion. Otherwise they “eat and drink judgement on themselves” (1 Cor. 11:27-32)
Communion is not for perfect people. Otherwise none of us would be able to take it. Instead, communion is for people who are saved by Christ through faith. Everyone who comes to the table must see that they need a savior, that Christ is that Savior, and that faith in Him is the only way to the Father. As the Jews painted their doors with the blood of a lamb in faith that God’s judgement would pass over their homes (Exodus 12:1-13) we now eat the bread and drink the cup in faith that Christ’s sacrifice is sufficient to secure eternal life (Hebrews 9:14). We look forward to sharing this hope with you and your children this Sunday.-Pastor Dan, Pastor Matt, and Dan Loch