Sacraments are a visible, tangible means by which God makes himself known to humankind. When God reaches out to us, he reaches out with his love and grace and reveals himself and his salvation to his people. The sacraments are given to us to enable us to better understand the gospel and to strengthen us in our faith. There is general agreement within the church of Jesus Christ that baptism and the Lord’s Supper are the sacraments instituted by Jesus Christ.
THE LORD’S SUPPER
It is interesting that Jesus never told his followers to remember his birth. Yet he did instruct them to remember his death. He asked them to do this in a very meaningful, powerful, and visible way: “On the night when he was betrayed, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it in remembrance of me.’ For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” I Corinthians 11:23-26
What is the Lord’s Supper?
- It is a remembrance of Jesus death. It is a means by which we remember His death on the cross in payment for the entire sin of the world.
- It is a fellowship with God himself. “Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?” I Corinthians 10:16.
- It is a fellowship with our brothers and sisters in Christ. “Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf.” I Corinthians 10:17
- It is food for eternal life. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life… I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh which I will give for the life of the world.” John 6: 48 & 51
- It is a witness. It is a public proclamation of Jesus death.
MAY CHILDREN PARTICIPATE IN THE LORDS SUPPER?
We encourage families to come forward together for communion. Parents are to take primary responsibility for whether their children take the bread and the juice. We would expect that any child participating has a good understanding of what they are doing. If a child desires to participate and is showing a genuine interest in the things of God, we encourage them to take a special class that is geared to help them gain a deeper understanding of these matters.
The article below explains in detail New Life’s perspective on including children in the Lord’s Supper.
Bibilcal Basis for the Inclusion of Children in the Lord’s Supper – Wilma van der Leek
a. We need to be very explicit & deliberate in our teaching of God and His ways to our children, not just waiting for them to be brave enough. “Teach these words to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and get up. Write them on the doorframes…” Deut. 11:19
b. Even very young children give praise to God. They are more than “decorations” waiting to grow into something. “From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise.” Ps. 8:2 “Unless you change and become like little children (open, receptive, ready for a gift, trusting etc.) you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matt 18:33ff
c. There is a heart knowledge children have which adults sometimes don’t. “You have hidden these things from the wise and revealed them to little children.” Matt. 11:25
d. The Corinthians were warned about exclusion. This verse seems to refer to the selfish manner of participating and indulging while others go without. “Whoever eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment to himself.” 1 Corin. 11:29
e. We are further warned to be very careful how we treat our children. “Whoever welcomes a little child welcomes me… see that you do not look down on one of these little ones.” Matt. 18:5
f. Children of the Old Testament took part in the covenant meal and parents were told to teach them of its meaning. “Select the animals for your families; when your children ask, “what does this mean’ tell them…” Ex. 12:24
g. Jesus welcome children “Let the children come to me.” Luke 18:16
h. The establishing of the New Testament church included specific reference that “the promise is for you and your children.” Acts 2:39