Today my college buddies came to church with me, making it easier to be without Nate. We found seats in the back and were settled in to worship when I noticed the family sitting in front of us with four young children. My best guesses were: a boy of 12, girls about 8 and 9 and another boy around 6. All of them were well behaved as the service proceeded, and the mother, sitting in the middle, continually quick-glanced in both directions to monitor them. She never needed to shush them, though, since they were so good.
Toward the end of the service, she leaned over to her youngest boy, probably a first grader, and whispered, “Yes, you can take communion today.”
It was as if he’d been told there was a new bike waiting for him in the parking lot. He wiggled and squirmed with excitement he could barely contain, gently tugging on his older brother’s sleeve as if to say, “Did you hear that? Mom said yes!”
As the plate of crackers came, he didn’t hesitate but took one and passed it on. Soft music played as he studied his tiny treasure and looked at his mother’s face. She smiled and put her hands together to let him know he should pray, and he immediately bowed his head. When the pastor gave the signal to eat, he looked at his brother, who gave him the go-ahead. A similar routine occurred with the cup.
I can’t stop thinking about this little guy’s enthusiasm for communion. He made a joyful mark on me, and I knew God was watching him with satisfaction. I prayed this child would always remember the happiness he felt as he took communion for the first time.
Children are naturally drawn to Jesus. It was detailed in Scripture and is still true today. God must have endowed them with a special understanding of his love for them. They never question it and usually receive salvation as the uncomplicated free gift it is. They have no thoughts of “But what about this or that…” and readily take the Lord at his word. They trust he is who he says he is and will do what he says he’ll do. What delight this must bring to the heart of the Father. If only we adults could think in this unfettered way.
The little boy’s behavior showed he’d been prepared for communion, schooled in the deep significance of the cross. I hope when he put his head on the pillow tonight, his mom or dad asked for his thoughts about the morning, because I’m sure he could have taught them something.
Once in a while, all of us would do well to think like a child.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20)