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Let the Children Come: Preparing Young People for the Lord’s Supper

Children and the Lord’s Supper:

Each child is loved by Christ and invited by him into the community of faith as a member, as signified in baptism.  Being young (or being old) does not make a person any less a person or any less a member.  Children bring special gifts to the community of faith.  Child-like faith is simple, direct, and trusting.  It is not a faith that is earned, but is a gift from God – a faith to which children respond simply and directly with their whole personalities.  Adult members of the church benefit from the children’s example of such faith.  Indeed, Jesus used the faith of children to remind his disciples of the nature of faith. 

– from Welcoming Children to the Lord’s Table: A Manual for Sessions, by David Ng

Teaching Children about the Lord’s Supper:

Children (and adults) continue to grow in their understanding of the mystery of the Lord’s Supper by building on experience and participation:

            Young Children can begin…

  • To trust God and the Church family – as they trust their own family – to love them as people, and to care about their needs.
  • To understand that in the Lord’s Supper, God’s people share a meal together as God’s family.
  • To know that in the Lord’s Supper, we say “thank you” to God for all God does in our lives.
  • To see the Bread, Wine (or Juice) and Table as symbols to remind us of Jesus… and the great gift of his life, death and resurrection.

Older children begin to understand, that in the Lord’s Supper…

  • God gives us love and forgiveness.
  • We give ourselves to God.
  • We receive hope for the future as we look forward to the coming of God’s Kingdom.

What happens during the Lord’s Supper?

  • Invitation to the Lord’s Table – After the sermon, the minister (on behalf of Jesus Christ) invites all baptized Christians to participate.
  • Words of Institution – The minister reads words of scripture that tell us the Lord’s Supper is based on the example and command of Jesus Christ.
  • Thanksgiving Prayer – The minister gives thanks for the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, and requests the presence and power of the Holy Spirit at the meal.  The people renew their commitment to God’s will – often by praying together the Lord’s Prayer.
  • Distribution of Bread and Wine (Juice) – The minister and elders (on behalf of Jesus Christ) give the elements to the people.
  • Thanksgiving, Hymn and Benediction – After a final prayer, we sing a hymn and are sent into the world to live as God’s people.  
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