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Source: (consider it) Thread: When should children take communion?
Anselmina
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# 3032

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quote:
Originally posted by Og: Thread Killer:
When should children take communion?

Every time they eat with a fellow human.

I always liked the phrase 'making one's communion'.

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Lamb Chopped
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# 5528

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The day my son asked if he could have communion I took as a sign he was ready for preparation, and we set to it. I think he was seven, and certainly baptized.

We didn't simply admit him immediately because I wanted to see what his understanding of it was--I've known other kids who basically wanted a cookie--and yeah, the "examine yourself" thing was on my mind. Not that I think the qualification for communion is cognitive! But I've been in states myself where I was pretty sure I ought not go up there, and I've seen such states in young children (Seriously, if you have two kids trying to kill one another in the back pew, ought they go to communion in that mindset?).

As it was, we did end up admitting him to the Lord's Supper very early, but not until he'd had a thorough grounding in Christian faith and teaching, an "examination by the pastor" (his father!) and an awareness that one ought not insist on one's "rights" if it causes scandal to others, mistaken though they may be. This was emphasized because it was about to become a major issue of Christian living for him--he was basically communicant downstairs (among the Vietnamese) and non-communicant upstairs among the English-speakers, a great many of whom would likely have worried to see a child that young receiving--and would have gone away and worried, never saying word one to us. Charity requires not making great-grandma X have a stroke. And they weren't OUR flock, after all, so when in Rome and all that.

I will admit that a second reason for putting him through such rigorous preparation and examination (far more than the English congregation required for early communion!) was that we had reason to be concerned that certain individuals might catch wind of it and give us hell if we didn't dot every
t and cross every i. We had to be able to say to them, "We aren't treating our son any differently than we would another child. No, actually we are--we're being stricter. So you can take your "He's not old enough" and shove it."

My personal opinion (which is by no means doctrine!) is that there would be no harm in communing baptized babies. They don't have the capability to reject the gift, and the Holy Spirit's work in them is I believe far less impeded than it is in the rest of us. The problem I have is in knowing when the kid has hit the age where he can put himself into danger of receiving "unworthily"--for example, while actively plotting to punch his sister's head in. Which might not be obvious to the parent shepherding him up to the rail.

On days when I am strongly desirous, nay, delighted by the thought of punching somebody's head in, I refrain from communion until I can work it out with God. I would want my child to do the same.

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Boogie

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# 13538

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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
As soon as the child reaches for it, they can commune if parents allow it. We do have grape juice for minor children. Around 14 they will begin to take the wine.

All our 'wine' is grape juice. The children receive communion, as you say, as soon as they reach for it.

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Nick Tamen

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# 15164

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In my tribe, baptized children may receive communion, though there is an expectation that children who are receiving communion are also receiving instruction, particularly in the meaning of Christ's invitation to the Table and our response.

quote:
Originally posted by Og, King of Bashan:
quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
On a practical note, how do you explain communion (in any of the ways it can be understood in Anglicanism) to a 2 yr old?

I think our priest says something about "this is a gift from God" when administering to our 2 year old.

Part of having a 2 year old is constantly explaining things that they cannot possibly understand, mostly out of the hope that they will start to pick up on the words, actions, and ideas, and gradually be able to form those parts into the whole that you are trying to explain.

I vividly recall one occasion when my 2-year-old son and I started up the aisle to receive communion. I was carrying him, so we were face-to-face. As we waited, I, as usual, began to remind him what we were doing, how Jesus invites us to the Table so that we can be closer to him, etc. I didn't get far before he put his hand over my mouth and said "I know, I know. It's Jesus's bread and he said I could have some."

Needless to say, his confident observation has stuck with me over the last 17 years. We're not the only ones doing the teaching.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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cliffdweller
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# 13338

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quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
I vividly recall one occasion when my 2-year-old son and I started up the aisle to receive communion. I was carrying him, so we were face-to-face. As we waited, I, as usual, began to remind him what we were doing, how Jesus invites us to the Table so that we can be closer to him, etc. I didn't get far before he put his hand over my mouth and said "I know, I know. It's Jesus's bread and he said I could have some."

With your son's permission, I would love to include that some time in my invitation to the table.

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Nick Tamen

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# 15164

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I doubt he'd mind, but I can ask just in case. Thanks.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Gramps49
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I find children will accept it just on faith. No need to try to understand the how or the why or the process. If they are told it is what is it is, they don't doubt it.
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Niminypiminy
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# 15489

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I find the necessity for understanding before admitting to communion very problematic.

This would prevent adults with learning difficulties, and adults with dementia from taking communion. It would prevent non-verbal people from taking communion. I think that is - well - wrong.

And which of us can say we understand the Eucharist? Of course, one wants everyone to understand it more than they already do, but this is the work of a lifetime, and will still be incomplete.

I recently asked a 4 year old child if she would like to take communion, and when she said yes, asked why. 'So that Jesus can see me.' I reckon that's a pretty good start.

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Tukai
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# 12960

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quote:
Originally posted by Graven Image:
When the child is old enough to sit at the [Thanksgiving /Christmas] holiday dinner table. Child is nourished by the food, feels loved by being surrounded by family, and it makes not one difference that the child may not know we are celebrating a national holiday and that the food is important for growth and is made up of vitamins and that the lady paying attention to him and making him happy is his great grandmother. Child simply knows that somehow this meal is special and he/she is included in the celebration. Same goes for communion.

I like this line, and the 4 year-old's one about "It's Jesus bread and he wants us to share it". [I've bracketed Christmas in with Thanksgiving, as
it's celebrated as a family feast throughout Christendom,unlike Thanksgiving.]

It is standard practice in the Uniting Church of Australia (of which we are currently members) for the celebrant to invite by saying "the Table is open to all who love the Lord" or words to that effect. That certainly includes children old enough to physically partake; younger ones are simply blessed. In practice, at least in our congo, the children who physically partake have AFAIK all been baptised.

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Galloping Granny
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quote:
I vividly recall one occasion when my 2-year-old son and I started up the aisle to receive communion. I was carrying him, so we were face-to-face. As we waited, I, as usual, began to remind him what we were doing, how Jesus invites us to the Table so that we can be closer to him, etc. I didn't get far before he put his hand over my mouth and said "I know, I know. It's Jesus's bread and he said I could have some."

That is a lovely story; thanks for sharing it. It does sum up the situation beautifully.
In our church, as children are part of God's family gathered together, it is natural for them to share in the family event, though the minister does say that children are welcome if their parents are happy for them to be included (or words to that effect).
Some years ago when we had a larger Sunday School, the SS ran a teaching session on the story of Communion. If any parents asked, I'm sure there's some teaching material for them to use with their own kids.

GG

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The Kingdom of Heaven is spread upon the earth, and men do not see it. Gospel of Thomas, 113

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