By Stuart Powell
Teaching children is an important aspect of the Christian faith and obeying the God of creation. In Deuteronomy, for example, Moses repeatedly encouraged and instructed the people of Israel to pass down information to succeeding generations:
These words I am commanding you today must be kept in mind, and you must teach them to your children and speak of them as you sit in your house, as you walk along the road, as you lie down, and as you get up. You should tie them as a reminder on your forearm and fasten them as symbols on your forehead. Inscribe them on the doorframes of your houses and gates (Deuteronomy 6:6-9, New English Translation; see also Deuteronomy 4:9-14; 11:18-21).
In these passages, Moses described important events that the descendants of the exodus generation needed to learn. The events were (and are) foundational to the ways Yahweh interacts with his people of faith. Understanding how Yahweh acted in the past was (and is) important to understanding how he will act in the future. And by reviewing God’s instructions, the parents and teachers were reminded of these same truths. Teaching children keeps the truths of history fresh in our minds, builds memories of God’s activities in past generations, and renews expectations regarding the promises God spoke.
Communion is an important time in modern worship services. We use a very simple object lesson to teach God’s children about God’s redemption. The bread reminds us that God sent Jesus into our sin-broken world. Jesus came to show us how to live obedient to God. The cup teaches us that Jesus came to give his life so that we sinners could be set free from the eternal penalties of sin. Jesus rose from the grave, never to die again, as an example of what God promises to do for those who follow his Son.
We remind each other of those truths by sharing the bread and the cup. The shared elements remind us that when we stand before the cross, all believers are equal in sin and salvation. We demonstrate that truth by taking the emblems together. Every believer is welcome to partake of them as they are served. And please, spend some time this week telling a child about Jesus’ sacrifice.
Stuart Powell lives outside of Terre Haute, Indiana, where he serves with the North Side Christian Church.