Not being of the Catholic faith; as a young child I thought of communion as something only adults did. Later as I matured I learned that in the church I attended young people were only allowed to participate in communion if they had accepted Christ as their savior. These practices by the church left me wondering about the future of the souls of young children or people who died before they had ever heard about the joys of a relationship with Christ and it bothered me. On the other hand I was uncomfortable with the idea that a child’s soul could be saved by baptism. After all Romans 10:9 states; If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. I’d always thought to myself, “How could a child that hasn’t learned to speak yet make that kind of declaration?” Obviously, they aren’t able to, so I came to believe that children had to grow up “enough” to make the decision to “accept” Christ on their own to be saved.
Shortly after my Grandson’s birth my Son and his Fiancé made the decision that my Grandson would be baptized in the Catholic church. This slammed right into my interpretation of Romans 10:9’s statement that a person needed to verbalize their belief in Christ’s birth, death on the cross, and resurrection. So I was pretty much of the mind that watching the Catholic baptism of my Grandson would be an interesting ceremony to go watch, but I still was of the mind that it wouldn’t save my Grandson’s soul.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend my Mother’s and Step-Father’s church with my Son and Grandson, and partake in an Episcopal church communion service. And though this was his first opportunity to accept communion at their church my Grandson was allowed to participate since he had already been baptized in the Catholic church. Interestingly enough his words as we sat in the pew afterwards shed more light about how to view communion than I’d ever experienced before. I was deep in prayer when I heard my Son ask my Grandson what he thought about communion. My Grandson exuberantly replied, “It was good!”
Joy filled my heart and I began chuckling with the realization that “It was good” on so many different levels.
The thoughts generated by a little boy’s comment made me view Jesus’ words from Matthew 18 in a brand new light.
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven?” He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
I’d always looked on those verses to only mean that the adult needed a child-like faith to truly accept Christ. Now, I’m not so sure that’s all that Christ meant by those words. Through the words of a little child I’ve realized that we are to come to the Lord with not just a child-like faith, but also with a child-like sense of wonder and enjoyment at being in His presence. We are supposed to teach our children by example. What better and more perfect an example than to demonstrate Christ’s sacrifice through the lesson of communion.