Our church has made the decision, like a number of others, to allow younger children (from 7 upwards) to take communion provided that they have completed a short course in order to learn more about it and their parents agree to it. Its not a confirmation course, that will occur when they are older.
There are about a half a dozen children taking the course and they will be having their first communion on Easter Sunday. They wont necessarily be partaking of wine as suitable alternatives for the younger ones will be on offer, in fact the point had been made that perhaps now would be a good time to move away from using communion wine to something like grape juice as there are several members of the congregation who shouldn't be partaking of the tiny quantities of wine involved.
Yesterday, we had one of the course sessions in church so that everyone could run through the communion service, what is meant by each part and also for the children to get their first taste of communion wavers and wine, or juice in some cases.
As we ran through each part we discussed what the words that the vicar say and the vicar responds with means.
Now its a long time since I was confirmed and I have to admit I don't really think about the meaning of the words. I should really as they are so important to the relationship between a Christian and God.
One of the parts that we say is:
In Christ you share our life that we may live in him and he is us.
He opened his arms of love upon the cross and made the perfect sacrifice for sin.
As we talked about its meaning I was struck by the image of Jesus on the cross.
Jesus hangs on the cross with his arms so wide open in a gesture of love and greeting. After all this time taking communion it was a wow moment.
I might be getting on a bit but even this old dog can learn something new from time to time.
Guess how much I love you?
I love you this much.