Communion is the central part of each of our worship services: when we receive the body (bread) and blood (wine) of Christ.
If you’re ready for your children to receive Communion (and you’re ready to field the kinds of questions they might ask!), then we’re ready to offer them Communion. It’s recommended that children gently touch the base of the cup and receive the wine symbolically; teenagers can take the wine if they like. If you feel your children are too young, or you’d like more preparation for them before they receive Communion, bring them forward for a blessing.
At St. George’s, you’ll see many children come forward to take Communion - even some as young as 2 or 3. “But surely they can’t understand what Communion is all about!”, some people might say. Of course this is true, but then again, perhaps none of us can fully understand God’s incredible grace and Christ's incredible gift of presence in the Body and Blood.
In some ways, children are more open to God’s mystery and presence than adults are. One of the most astounding responses to worship I ever saw was a 3 year old child, standing in the middle of the central aisle, eyes full of wonder and mystery, completely and entirely absorbed as the Priest said the prayer to consecrate the bread and wine. As his hands went up, so did her hands; when he made the sign of the cross over the bread and wine, so did she. She was completely overcome by the power of the prayer he was saying - and watching her, everyone in the congregation experienced a new thing that day: the transcendent power of God, alive in our midst.
As adults, we seek to understand most things in the world using our brains; children, on the other hand, understand things by living them. Perhaps this is what Christ meant when he said, “unless you become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3). That’s why we welcome children to Communion at St. George’s. But that’s not to say children can’t or shouldn’t learn more about Communion.
Many children have questions about Communion, and perhaps some of their questions will fall outside your own (or any of our) ability to answer, or outside your creativity. This is where our awesome Sunday School teachers can help, or where a email to the Priest might give you a hand. Feel free to reach out and explore your children’s questions with other adults. Sometimes the questions raised by children are questions we never knew were worth asking - but it turns out they're great questions!
We also periodically offer a program to prepare children prayerfully and theologically (in an age-appropriate way) to meet Jesus in the bread and wine, adapted from a National Church program called, “Life in the Eucharist”. "Life in the Eucharist" was actually designed to help parents teach their children about Communion at home, and even though it has been around a long time, it’s still a program we recommend highly. You may find you learn a lot from leading this program for your children!
For more information on “Life in the Eucharist”, speak with the Rector, Rev. Clara, or one of our amazing Sunday School Teachers.