Have the children gather around the communion table. Ask them to tell you what happens at this table and in the worship service in regards to communion. Encourage them to tell you and the whole congregation, the story of the Last Supper and what Jesus is doing/offering in Holy Communion. Let them (if you’re comfortable) touch some of the things on the altar.
(In my ELCA tradition, some congregations do not commune children until a “first communion” class has been taken and some offer communion as soon as they have teeth. I personally, defer to offering communion to all ages and offer classes once a year for whole families to engage in the conversation of “What is Holy Communion?” Please tweak this Children’s Sermon to meet your congregation’s theology and tradition! Know that Faith Formation Journeys is here to support and honor your ministry! Thank you for your partnership!)
In our Bible lesson today, we heard Jesus talk about eating his body as if it were bread. Kinda weird huh? But, Jesus also reminds the people around him, his disciples, of the story of the Israelites who wandered around the desert for 40 years and God gave them manna or bread that came from heaven every single night. Jesus was reminding them that God over and over tells us a story of love, life, and being with God forever. And Jesus is telling people that the story of God’s love-IS FOR EVERYONE! That was so hard for people to hear! God’s story of love was even for people that we don’t like, are different from us, dress differently, act differently, live differently, like different foods, books or are even not nice to us! Are there sometimes people that you sorta hope you don’t have to be nice to? Yes, we all do! But Jesus tells us the story over and over that God LOVES everyone-even people we might not like-and will take care of them just like God takes care of you! Is that hard to believe sometimes? It is for me and even for a lot of adults. God wants all people to know about love and life forever.
So each time we gather at church, we always have communion, which means “together.” God gathers us all together and we all eat the same bread, and drink the same grape juice or wine. Even with people we may not like. Jesus says that when we eat this bread and drink from the cup, we are reminded that God is already so close to us that God is IN us, working in us and through us. If God loves us and is always with us and all people, how can we tell people the story God’s love? (Accept all answers-offer some congregational specific examples that the children could participate in.)
Dear Jesus, thank you for being the living story of God’s love for us. We are part of God’s story of love for the whole world and may we tell it every single day in every word we say and with every action we do. Your story of love goes on forever and forever through your Son Jesus Christ. Amen.
Have a good sized booklet or two on a table with markers, crayons, stickers and other materials as needed. On the cover have the logo and name of you congregation. Have blank pages on the inside for people to write/draw part of God’s story in their lives. (You could also have blank sheets unattached and then bind them when finished.) Have this booklet available for a worship station for a few weeks. Find a way to share some of the stories in a corporate, gathered setting. Encourage all ages to participate!