Saturday, September 25, 2010


Last Sunday our family went to our favorite and normal 8:15 service.  When I was employed on the children's staff of our church I rarely got to go to worship with my family.  Then with summer we didn't make it to church very often and when we did we typically sent the kids to Sunday School while we went to worship.  So this was the first Sunday in a while that we were worshiping as a complete family.

I love when we all go to worship together.  Sometimes it is difficult because, well, the kids are wiggly and loud and bored and in general need quite a bit of their parents attention to make it through the service with out being a huge disruption to those around them.  Of course, that means their parents don't always leave worship knowing what the sermon was about.  I know many believe that children should not  be part of worship until they are older and can sit still longer and read. 

Obviously, our family takes a different approach.  We believe that learning to sit through a service at a young age helps make church a lifelong habit.  Our children start learning parts of the service (the Lord's Prayer, the Doxology, the Glori Patri, etc) very young (we start around 3) so that they can participate.  We specifically chose the service at our church that is the shortest - 45 minutes and the most casual though not contemporary. The service we attend offers communion weekly instead of once a month like the rest of our services.

Communion is another place our family seems to deviate from the norm.  Our Book of Order states that it is at the parents discretion when their children are ready for communion.  For us, we have interpreted that to be when our child, on an age appropriate level, can explain why we take communion and understand that it is not just a snack.  Our kids have started taking communion around the age of three or four. 

The age they start communion is something that I often wonder if we have made the right choice about.  We get funny looks with some frequency when the littles take communion. Every time that happens I think, "is this the right thing to be doing?"  Don't get me wrong, we have lots of positive feedback on our family's approach to religion and lots of fellow worshipers who make a point to seek out my children each week to tell them how happy they are to see them.  Sometimes, I think, we just surprise people by how young we start them. 

This past Sunday, I had my answer.  For this service all of the congregants form a circle and serve communion to each other.  Preceding me in the circle were Michael, then Eliza Claire, then Rehm, and then me. Ruby and Charlotte were on the other side of Michael with Grandma.  Eliza Claire was very serious when receiving communion.  Then she took the bread from her dad and turned to her brother and in her very serious, very solemn, little Eliza Claire voice, held out the bread and said, "Rehm, this is the body of Christ broken for you." I had tears in my eyes.  Then Rehm turned to serve communion to me.  Again it was powerful - to have my nine year old son share intimately in my faith and worship experience. 

This is exactly what I want my children to be learning.  This is exactly the faith I want them to display.  This is the community I want them to be part of.  This is exactly where I want them to belong. She may not completely understand communion, but she does know that Jesus loves her and gave his life for her as well as a four year old can know that. 
I honestly can not tell you what the sermon was about - I was distracted shushing the children but I can not put into words how powerful of a worship experience I had and how much I look forward to repeating it regularly in the future.


1 comment:

Phyllis said...

Thanks for sharing, and thanks for being sure they are there.