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Communicating Communion

Communicating Communion

She sits on my lap. Church music plays in the background. Her soft blonde hair is pressed against my cheek while my lips move at the tip of her velvet ear.

“This helps us remember that God loved us so much He gave His Only Son for you and me,” I say, turning my head so the words whisper to her ears alone.

“The bread,” and I open my palm where a little piece is cradled, “reminds us that nails went here,” I show my wrists and reach one arm down to my feet, “and here. His body was nailed to a cross.”

I close my eyes, put the soft square of bread into my mouth and chew, trying to concentrate on the act of remembrance while knowing just inches away big blue eyes framed with black thick lashes watch.

A round silver plate makes its way down the row toward me. I balance it precariously with one hand and lift a tiny clear plastic cup from its holder.

“And this,” I breathe while she settles back heavy against me, her ear against my lips. “Reminds us, you and me, that He bled and died.” I trace a line down her forehead with my finger. I pick up her hand and trace another imaginary rivulet of blood. “He loves us so much, He wanted to make a way for our sins to be forgiven.”

I toss back the sweet grape juice. She pulls back a few inches to look at me, to watch me swallow, and wonder at my grown-up privilege and its meaning. I shut my eyes, wanting to close out distraction, to think about the import of the tradition. The cold tip of a little nose brushes against my lips. Startled I open my eyes, and nose to nose she sniffs for the smell of grapes. Seriously?

“And when your children say to you, ‘What does this rite mean to you?’ you shall say…,” Moses instructed Israelite families to be ready to explain why they practiced the rituals God ordained in

Exodus 12:26-27, (NASB).

Scripture repeatedly encourages generations to be responsible to pass to the next generations the teachings of our faith, but religious acts themselves do not produce faith by osmosis. Some of our Christian practices may seem confusing to little children, or as mundane as learning to tie shoes. Our mandate as parents includes verbalizing beliefs as part of daily routine.

Deuteronomy 6:7, “You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” (NASB).

Fundamental spiritual truths are one of the most important gifts a parent can bestow. Bringing understanding to those truths, priceless. While the non-negotiables of faith remain the same throughout history, our energy to transmit beliefs may wane, and passion fade. Some days lying down and rising up is a challenge of its own, let alone teaching, talking and walking biblical truth.

Christ broke bread and drank from the cup with His disciples at the Last Supper. He instructed them, “do this in remembrance of Me.” (1 Cor. 11:23-26) That ordinance of Communion practiced by the body of Christ is a perfect opportunity to carefully lay out the truths of the gospel.

What essentials can a child respond to and build upon?

  • God is perfect. He is holy.
  • I’m not. I sin. I disobey God. I need forgiveness.
  • God Loves me. He sent Jesus to die on the cross for my sin.
  • He wants to forgive me for my sin and give me a clean heart.

Truths woven throughout God’s Word tell of the creation, fall, redemption and restoration. All of it points to Jesus. Teach those basics day by day. Take opportunities to talk about them. And then do it again. Use Scripture when possible. Communicate acceptance and delight. As they grow, your children will associate the emotion your speech and actions evoked with the validity of your words. Speak in love.

Two rows ahead I watch as a dad tries to wrest his cup from a reaching baby hand. I smile. Children test quiet moments of reflection and solemnity during the act of communion. But, those times are also defining opportunities for teaching gospel truths. And, isn’t the heart of the gospel one that must be shared?

By: Sylvia Schroeder serves as Women’s Care Coordinator at Avant Ministries. She and her husband raised four children in Italy and Germany, where they were missionaries with Avant. Their children are all married and they have twelve grandchildren. Visit her blog, When the House is Quiet, at

Join us at for our parenting blog each Monday-Friday and for info about the Just 18 Summers novel.

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