Wednesday, August 29, 2007
So I have a question that I figured I'd throw out there to see if anyone can help me. I've been pondering the propriety of allowing Abbie to start taking the Lord's Supper.
Now, before the heresy hunters start sending in special forces, let me at least explain my thinking. You see, I want my daughter to learn the meaning behind the rituals that we go through on Sunday. I want them to have meaning for her. I don't want them to be just "adult" things.
I know that the Lord's Supper is a Christian memorial. Therefore, it is inappropriate for non-Christians to partake (although I don't know any church that actively tells them not to when they happen to be present). But does a four year old, who believes in Jesus as much as any four year old possibly can, qualify? I certainly don't think she's a non-Christian, yet she hasn't made a mature decision yet to make Jesus her Lord.
You see, Abbie will never have a "conversion experience." She will be raised to believe and will at some point either choose to adopt that belief personally or to reject it. But she will never be "converted" to Christianity. Therefore, being raised to believe and to be a part of a believing community, would it not be appropriate to teach her the meaning of the rituals of that believing community.
"But you can teach the meaning without letting her partake," you might say. True, I can give her a theoretical understanding of what is going on. However, I believe that there is experiential value to participating. What this experience will mean to a four year old, I have no idea. However, I'm tired of church education and family education be all theoretical/doctrinal/theological and not experiential.
So I picture my wife and I talking to Abbie about the communion and telling her than when the crackers and grape juice go by, we think about Jesus dying on the cross. We can tell her that the juice looks like blood, so we think about his blood, and that the crackers look like skin, so we think about his body. I think she can understand those elementary principles.
So I'm thinking about doing it. What are your thoughts? Would I be cheapening the Lord's Supper by letting her partake? Is there some biblical teaching that would preclude it?