We’ve always had our kids play a big part in our Palm Sunday services and all ages worship together on Easter Sunday. But do our children actually know why they are waving palm branches on the stage while wearing donkey ears? Do they know why there is a palpable joy in the air on Easter Sunday? To this end, just like our big kids, our preschoolers are pausing their curriculum during the Lenten season to learn about the last days of Jesus. Between our lessons at church, and your Matthew readings at home, we hope that all of our Munger Kids will have an understanding of the many celebrations that take place during Holy Week.
And since we’re on the subject, I’d like to use this post to discuss helping your littlest children prepare for their lives through reading and role playing in advance.
In my family we prepare for any event that is out of the ordinary – whether big or small – with books. We read books before the first dentist visit, before taking a first flight, before going to preschool, before Valentine’s Day and the list goes on and on. Books and pictures have an amazing power. Children are great visual learners and they like to know what will happen next because it gives them a sense of control. If they understand what is going to happen in advance, they can appreciate the activities and/or mood around them and they can also try to participate. Sometimes they will even want to play act what they read about in advance.
Try to remember, as best you can, being a young child. Can you faintly remember situations where EVERYTHING was new and strange to you? We don’t think about it much, but children’s lives are so adventurous. They are truly braving new places and situations on a daily basis. Sometimes a preschooler’s normal day is as unique to them as if you traveled to a foreign country that you knew absolutely nothing about. If you were going to travel like that, you would immediately buy a guide book or look up lots of information on the internet to help you understand the country. So why not help our children get advance information about new circumstances or events in the same way?
Communion is one of the situations that seem be completely foreign to your kids. This is why preschoolers will learn about the Lord’s Supper and Communion in class today. * Although it is easiest to explain communion to the little ones through symbols (as described below), we should also explain that our tradition asserts the real, personal, living – not just symbolic – presence of Jesus Christ in communion.
It’s hard to remember everything that happens to us, because there is so much to remember. There are some things that aren’t so important to remember – like what we ate for breakfast this morning – but there are other things that are vital to remember – like a telephone number you should call when there is an emergency. We use many things to help us remember: calendars, alarm clocks, repetition, photographs, lists and also symbols.
Symbols can remind us of important things. A symbol is something we use to represent or remind us of something else. Today we learned about the last supper, a Passover meal Jesus had with his disciples that was different from their previous meals. Jesus knew this would be the last meal they would all share before he was killed on the cross.
Jesus picked up the special bread and broke it into pieces and gave it to his disciples and said, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” Then Jesus picked up a cup of wine and told his disciples that it represented his blood. He told them to drink it and to always remember what he had done for them. Jesus had given his disciples (and us) a symbol to remember him by.
It’s important to understand what those symbols mean, and how they connect us directly to Jesus. It’s important to know churches around the world do the same thing and have done so for two thousand years. It is an integral part of our faith.
We celebrate communion the first Sunday of every month in service and on all other Sundays between services at 10:45am or 4:45pm. We’d love to see you bring your children to communion. And as always, if you have any questions about what we are learning – or communion itself – please reach out to us!