Last Sunday, I wondered about the lines some of us draw between Christian and non-Christian.
More specifically: I’ve been conditioned to envision this imaginary line between when a child is a child, being “brought up in the ways of the Lord” on one hand, and when, on the other hand, he is “old enough” to understand Jesus’ sacrifice and to share in communion. Is there really such a sharp line between the two?
On a recent Sunday morning, after “breaking the bread” and passing the tray on, I told my son for the 10th time (on 10 different Sundays) that this is for older Christian believers. I’m just not so sure that there should be a line between him and me in this respect. What’s the harm, if I’m really trying to bring Him up in the Lord, in using communion time as a teachable moment? It’s not that I remotely think my son has a concept of sin or grace or atonement or even Jesus’ love yet — nor should he. He’s not quite four and a half. Maybe not yet, but maybe in a year or two?
Am I worried more about how things appear to the people in the pew behind us than about bringing my son up to understand spiritual truth and to know God?
At some point, can’t my young son begin to get the connection between the lines in the cracker and the whip-lines on Jesus’ back? And can’t he get this before the time that he’s really accountable for his own sin? Could such an early bit of learning be part of bringing Him up in the Lord?
To borrow a depiction (see here), I think some see a frowning Jesus Who says, “Thou shalt not touch the emblems before confession, repentance, and immersion.” I think we will do better to see a smiling Jesus Who says, “Yes, go ahead. Let him. He’s wanting to participate in something. Of course he doesn’t know what it is yet, but if you let him, he will begin to feel a part of the whole, and will be ripe for remembering Me more fully as he grows up.”