Traditions are such a strong part of making connections as a family. Even when I don’t realize that something has become a family tradition, the kids are always quick to remind me. In anticipating Easter this year, at the top of their list of things they were looking forward to, was celebrating Communion together. We’ve incorporated breaking bread and sharing the Lord’s table at our family table with many Easter dinners and Raegan, age 8½, is the one who called it to my attention to make sure we had the Communion supplies we needed.
McKinlea informed us "we have to drink Jesus' blood" as she quoted the familiar Bible text but shrugged her shoulders to indicate this 4-year old girl didn’t quite understand.
As I tried to reassure her and make it easier to understand, I felt like God inspired me. I didn’t have time to think through the analogy that was about to tumble out of my heart.
“Do you ever do anything unusual with your food…that can make it special?” With heads shaking “no” and three pairs of inquisitive eyes waiting for my explanation I reminded them that sometimes we light our food on fire!
“Oh no, we don’t do that,” they insisted. “I do!” I affirmed, “And people are so happy they start singing.
Grant began tracking with me first. "My birthday cake!" Just days earlier he enjoyed his birthday cake filled with 7 flaming candles.
“That’s right. We get all excited and celebrate every year on your birthday, because we are happy you are alive. When Jesus broke the bread and gave the cup of juice to his followers the only instruction He gave was ‘remember Me.’ When we take Communion we are celebrating that He is alive and we are so happy. We remember Him and all that He did for us.”
Raegan had that “aha!” moment as she smiled at me and said, “now I finally get it Grama.” She told me that she’s read those words in red in the Bible. “It means it is important; Jesus’ words.” Grant seemed to understand better too. I guess this was my parable for modern times and young minds. However, I think I need to work on my story a little more because McKinlea finished with her observation, “But when Jesus broke the bread in two, then only two people could eat.”
Now, will you do me a favor? When you open your mailbox this year, please at least try to act surprised when you read my new birthday greeting: “I’m going to light your food on fire and sing happily because I am so glad you’re alive.” (I doubt Pastor will allow me to do that at church for our next Communion service.)
--Lori Ralls is the manager of Celebrate Communion and grandmother to seven fabulous grandkids (so far).