Our church family celebrates the Lord's Supper on the first Sunday of every month. I just love that. This month the first Sunday was a part of Labor Day Weekend and we had only one service and then a huge picnic on the lawn. The weather was perfect, 2/3 of the congregation had signed up for lunch, and we were all going to worship together in one service. Awesome.
The other twist to the day was the order of worship was switched all around. Our Pastor had planned for the sermon to come right at the beginning of our time together so that we could respond to the message with repentance and worship and our hearts could be prepared for coming to the Lord's table. In light of the switcheroo, the kids all left for children's worship at the beginning of the service and were brought back to us during the "hymn of response" (the hymn right after the sermon).
I had gotten an email during the week telling me this was going to happen and that Mark (our Pastor) had requested such, so as to create a teachable moment with our children. You would think that this email might have prompted me to talk with my kids and prepare them for Sunday. Nope. Seriously, my thought was, "I have to remember to sit on the aisle." I don't claim to be brilliant.
Sunday morning I started to get a little nervous. Passing a plate of food past Bubba was going to be tricky and there was real potential for meltdown. Honey and I staggered the kiddos between us so that no one could make a grab for the juice as it went by and then we waited.
When the bread was passed down our row, Little sat up tall to peek into the plate. I took a piece of bread and passed the plate on. Little tried to see what was in my hand and then asked, "What do you have there?" I leaned over and whispered into her ear, "It's a piece of bread. It's to help us remember Jesus' body when He died on the cross." Little didn't skip a beat but asked, "Can I have one of those?" I leaned back over and whispered into her ear, "When you are older and ready to tell that you are going to follow Jesus, then you can have one." Know what she said? "I can?" Yep. That's what she said -- with a huge grin and a giggle of genuine anticipation.
When the juice came by, Little took another glimpse. I drank mine pretty quickly so that there would be no chance of spillage. Little asked, "What was in there?" I responded, "It was juice . . . to remind us of Jesus' blood from when He died on the cross." She looked over and watched as her daddy put his cup in the little holder in the pew and said (mostly to herself), "Did he have blood in there too?"
Bubba did not have as easy a go. All I could tell during the actual "event" was that his little lip was just quivering to beat the band and he kept wiping his eyes. Honey looked at me with wild eyes and mouthed, "melt down," but Bubba never really lost control. He never really regained his composure either.
After the service I took his hand and we walked out to the lobby. I leaned down and asked why he was crying. He couldn't even talk he was so sad. I asked, "Bubba, are you sad because you didn't get to eat bread?" He nodded and then forced out, "When I get older." I hugged him tight and said, "Jesus said the bread and juice are very special and it's saved for those who are going to follow Him. When you are ready to follow Jesus then you can have some too." He hugged me tight. I waited just long enough and then said, "You know what? There's a picnic outside with lots of food you CAN have. Let's go." He took my hand and we headed out.
Later that day Honey told me that he had explained what was going on and Bubba had started crying. Honey told him that it represented Jesus' body and that it was for when he was older and trusts Jesus. Bubba responded, "I AM older." (he DID have a birthday last week, after all) Honey responded, "Yes, you are, but you need to be older." Bub's response, "Daddy, I want to grow up."
All in all I would say it was a wonderful morning. I am so grateful that Pastor Mark would think for our family in this way and help create such an opportunity. One day our little ones will grow and I can't wait to watch them stand before our church family and declare their love for our Savior. I look forward to the day when I hold the plate while they take a piece of bread. Oh, Jesus, work quickly please.