Jeremy and I joined a church plant at a prompting of the Lord in the fall of 2008. We have really enjoyed this church and how it has grown us! It has challenged us and what our idea of “church” looks like in our life. It’s very different from what we are used to/have experienced in the past.
One of my favorite things about our church is that the children are in the first part of the service with us. I know a lot of parents who go to church would seriously keel over at the thought of this, but it has been SO. GREAT. In fact, maybe later this month I’ll dedicate a post entirely to that subject. But for this post, I want to talk about how it has affected my eldest son.
The kiddos are in church with us for the first part of the service before they are dismissed to a short class for our sermon time. The first part of our service encompasses the following: worship through song, fellowship, announcements, prayer and communion.
While there are challenges with each little aspect of the above mentioned portions of worship, there have also been some AMAZING conversation starters as a result of what Cooper is witnessing. Most of those conversations have centered around his extreme curiosity about communion.
Usually when we take communion, Scripture is read, a song is played/sung and often times a video is on the screens to help us as we pray and meditate on Christ’s sacrifice. Whenever the bread and the juice are passed, Cooper is very eager to do his part to pass these elements. He has asked me many times why he can’t take communion and most of the time I have told him it is because he is not ready yet. This has satisfied him as an answer in the past. But this past Sunday…not so much.
Sunday during communion, Cooper again asked me why he couldn’t take it. I told him that we would talk about it later if he reminded me and that I would be happy to discuss it with him. He said ok and stopped asking me about it. Then, much to my surprise, on the way home from church he reminded me that we were going to talk about it. So we did.
I reminded him what communion is and why we do it. (We’ve had that conversation lots of times before and it usually stops there.) Then I told him that it is something that the Bible says we should not take lightly. I told him it is important for us to think about the sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf. I also told him that it is something that we are not to do if we have not asked Jesus to be the King of our heart and the Lord of our life. Cooper asked me how you do that and I explained what that kind of commitment means and that we do it through prayer. (At this point, I am starting to freak out a bit because he is not being silly, but is seriously considering what I am saying.)
We pulled up to the house right after I finished explaining everything to him and he was quickly on to another subject. I was happy to have had a natural opportunity to talk with Cooper about something that is so special and important, but boy! I seriously didn’t think he’d start asking me about this stuff for another year or two!
Later in the evening, some friends of ours came over for dinner and to play. We had a great time together, said goodbye to our friends and then I started to get Cooper ready for bed. While we were in the process Cooper said to me, “Mommy, tonight when I was in time out in your room and I was sitting in your chair, I told Jesus that I want him to be the King of my heart and the Lord of my life. So, now I am ready to take communion.”
I stood there kind of frozen (after giggling a little). A million thoughts were racing through my mind. I started to ask him a few questions to find out if he really understood what he was saying. I asked him what his prayer was like and he told me. But he kept talking about communion and how he was ready to take it.
I went back and forth in my mind and prayed some prayers right then and there as I looked at his sweet little face. I really think he just wants to be part of what he sees everyone else doing on Sunday morning. I don’t honestly think he is ready for this kind of a commitment. So in the mean time, I’ve told him that it is a subject we will continue to talk about, but I won’t be letting him take communion, not yet anyway.
I was really nervous to post this story because I know that we have a lot of friends who do let their small children take communion. But I really don’t believe he is ready or that I could hold him to such a commitment this early in his life. I want him to want Jesus, but I want him to understand that want because if he doesn’t understand it, then he won’t be able to stand on it later. I know a lot of people won’t agree with me on this subject and that’s ok, some people will agree with me too. But in the mean time, my real focus is on his precious and beautiful little innocent heart!
I love that I am having these conversations with my son. It’s a sweet gift and such an encouragement to my soul!