Sacrament

Nine months.  No teeth.

Refuses solid food, yet reaches out a tiny hand for bread.

I place a little piece upon her waiting tongue,

and smile with wonder

as I administer this first communion.

Comments

  1. When I was younger, I did not offer the sacrament to our infants and young children as I felt they did not need it. They were innocent and had no covenants to renew, nor could they comprehend the meaning of the ordinance. Today, I was deeply moved as I watched my youngest daughter join herself to the religious community of her family in a rite that she has already learned by imitation.

  2. Kevin Barney says:

    A beautiful little poem, Kris.

    (I too favor giving children the emblems of the sacrament.)

  3. Thanks, Kevin. Some of your comments on other threads have encouraged me to understand the concept of the love-feast more deeply.

  4. Will Schryver says:

    Just wait until she turns 14 and starts using that tongue and her accumulated arsenal of sarcasm, ridicule, and invective to bring her younger sister to tears.

    Every stage has its own challenges and rewards …

    By the way, she would really like attending our ward. I’ve been making home-made bread for the Sacrament every week for the past seven years. I was out of town for my oldest daughter’s wedding back in July and forgot to drop the loaf of bread off at the bishop’s house on our way out of town. I was told that there were children in the congregation that refused to take the white bread that was offered in its stead.

  5. JA Benson says:

    Kris- Lovely poem. Wonderment in a little person’s eyes is such a fulfilling thing for a parent. I hope that this is not a thread jack, but I remembered this incident when #2 son was a pre-schooler. As the Sacrament bread went around, he sighed and complained very loudly, “bread again!! Why don’t they ever serve apples”.

  6. Thank you.

  7. This is great, today my six month old took the Sacrament for the first time, so prefect timing!

  8. I love the love feast. I love that early Methodists spent hours feasting between services with each other in their attempts at the agape love feasts. I think of the Kirtland dedication period as something of our own love feast, as various people went from house to house eating sacramental bread and drinking sacramental wine. Such a glorious drama.
    I love feeding my daughters the sacrament.

  9. Beautiful, Kris – simply beautiful.

  10. Kevin Barney says:

    We have a recent convert who is a very distinguished older Greek gentleman. He spoke in Church today on the Sabbath.

    One of the things he talked about is how on holidays we make tremendous efforts to return to our parents’ home and join them and the rest of our family in feasting, and how these are the most joyous times of our lives. And how we do the same thing every Sunday, by coming to the house of our Father and partaking of a sacramental meal with him and those that we love.

    It was a great talk.

  11. Thanks for sharing that, Kevin. I’m sure I will use it in a talk in the future.

  12. cj douglass says:

    There’s certainly no harm in a child partaking of the sacrament. For those who find joy in that – by all means…I just don’t see how it teaches them anything but snack time (which isn’t necessarily bad) . I just think a more valuable teaching moment can come from an 8 year old realizing the significance of his/her covenant by partaking of the sacrament for the first time after baptism. There really isn’t any teaching involved in a child picking up a piece of bread (or anything else for that matter) and eating it. My 9 month old will pick up just about anything you put in front of her and put it in her mouth. So again, I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with children taking the sacrament but if our goal is to teach them something, I’m not sure that it really does the job. Nice poem though…..

  13. cj, there was a time when it was hard for me to discern the difference from infant baptism and children taking the Sacrament. This was likely because modern rhetoric of the Lord’s Supper revolves around baptism covenant. It is much, much more. Among other things, it is a ritual where we acknowledge each other as the body of Christ. It is up to us to help our children recognize this.

  14. Kris–Thank you for sharing that sweet moment.

    cj–I used to feel uncomfortable about children taking the sacrament prior to their baptism. (They had made no covenant to renew.) At some point after my firstborn was old enough to grab for the sacrament as it went past her, I made it a point to ponder and pray on the subject.

    It came to me that my unaccountable daughter was saved through the atonement of Christ which we were commemorating with the sacramental symbols of bread and water. If she died prior to her baptism, she would be saved in the Celestial Kingdom. The salvation of innocents is one of the most merciful gospel principles, among the most precious to me. I felt strongly that when children take the sacrament was not unlike the children who came to Jesus when he was on the Earth. I felt Jesus would welcome them.

    So these days, I whisper in my little ones’ ears, “This bread helps us remember Jesus. Jesus loves little children.” Today, I had a sweet moment when my otherwise rambunctious five year old ‘taught’ her fifteen month old sister, “The bread helps us to think about Jesus, Baby.”

    When a child gets baptized in our family, I have a one on one talk about how the sacrament will now also renew their baptismal covenants with Heavenly Father. I try to talk it up almost as much as their baptism. They’ll only be baptized once, but they’ll be taking the sacrament the rest of their lives.

    Jami

  15. “Suffer the children to come unto me” has always been my mantra when it comes to the sacrament. It’s much like accepting the Atonement before Jesus’ birth – done in anticipation of what will come to pass in the future.

    Thanks, Jami, for putting it so well.

  16. cj douglass says:

    Some good feedback J. and Jami. Again, I don’t cringe to see children partaking of the sacrament. And yes, they are all pure in Christ. I still think that kids tend to want to do (or eat) what everyone else is doing. I think setting them apart does a much better job at helping them take notice. But yes, always a good thing to pray about…

  17. On he mission, sometimes the district president would drop by our apartment and ask if we could accompany him as he visited members in the far reaches of the district. It would inevitably take up most of the day, as we drove to convalescent homes that were seventy or more miles from the ward meetinghouse. I’ve administered the sacrament to people on the other end of their lives, whose neurological condition rendered their hands so shaky that there was no guarantee that their hands would find their mouths. So we did the same thing that you did with your child, Kris, and placed a piece of bread on their tongues and help the cup of water to their lips. They were usually crying, and while I’m sure part of it was because of happiness at being remembered and visited, I also think part of it had to do with participating in a ritual that signified their membership in the community of believers.

  18. Nick Literski says:

    If I were still a believer, I think I’d be far more concerned about the conditions under which many adults take the sacrament, than I would be about innocent children.

    Just a thought.

  19. cj douglass says:

    Good thought Nick…..but again, I wasn’t calling into question whether children were worthy to partake the sacrament. Rather, I was calling into question the best way to teach them the value and significance of it.

  20. Not to take away from the precious moment of a sweet, small child engaging in the holy ordinance, but is no one else concerned where else those fingers have been before they reached out for the bread?

  21. David, a better place than the priest who broke and blessed it.

  22. Kyle,

    Well said.

  23. As someone who will never be a mother this side of the veil, I admire the women and men of the Church who get to have these lovely experiences, and even the ones who have their child take the sacrament for no other reason than to stop the screams of jealousey and din of noise from the younger darlings. The way I see it is that it is a teaching moment for reverence, and that’s always a good thing.

    I loved the poem, as well.

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