Tuesday, March 10, 2015
The first Communion service I remember is the one I had to leave. My Mother, my sister, and I were visiting in a church and when it came time for the Sacrament to be service, the preacher announced that only members of that church could participate and that any visitors could use the next moments to leave. I still can remember stepping out of the pew, into the aisle, and out the door. For over forty years I have officiated at services of Holy Communion. The memory of the first service lingered as an adult and shaped my conviction that no one would ever be made to feel unwelcome at the Table of the Lord.
Over the years there were discussions with parents about the right age for their children to come to the altar for communion. In some traditions children only come after Confirmation. And in some places parents simply acted under the assumption that a child should wait until he or she is old enough to understand what is happening. To be honest is to admit there are times I am not sure I understand so let us put that aside lest none of us eat and drink the holy meal. It has always seemed to me that a child of any age had a place at the Table of the Lord. Who cares about age? Who really cares about fulfilling some denominational requirement? Maybe we do, but not Jesus.
Even on the journey to the cross, He had time for children. He never is seen turning any of them away, but instead drawing them closer to Him and securing their place in the Kingdom. There was something about a child that caused Jesus to see a Kingdom person. We may not be able to shuck our adult bodies, but we can choose to live with a spirit that causes Jesus to see us as one who has absolute trust in Him to care for us in the present moment as well as in the eternity only just begun. To such belongs the Kingdom of God.