Talking with kids about communion

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9 March, 2020

What is communion?

Communion is a 'meal' that we share with other Christians to remember Jesus' death and sacrifice for us. Eating and drinking symbols that remind us of Jesus' body and blood can all seem a bit weird (to kids and adults!) and without the historical Jewish context it is! See this video from Phil Vischer (or continue reading) to help understand this better.

Are children welcome to take communion?

All who believe in Jesus are welcome at the communion table. Just as Jesus welcomed the children in Luke 18:15-17, we at Coro take the perspective that communion is not just for those who have a strong theological understanding of communion, but is for all who come with a simple faith and a trust in Jesus.

Why the bread and wine?

Good question! We eat bread that reminds us of Jesus' broken body and drink wine (or juice) that reminds us of his blood 'poured out for us'. When we celebrate communion, we do what Jesus commanded in Luke 22:19 when he was celebrating the Passover with his disciples - Jesus' last meal with them.

There is a further imagery at play here too - in John 6, after feeding the 5,000, Jesus called himself 'the bread of life'. Just as bread nourishes us physically, so Jesus nourishes us spiritually. We will sometimes use words in the communion service that refers to this... eg. 'feed on him in your hearts by faith with thanksgiving'.

Where can I find this in the Bible?

There are several accounts of the Last Supper in the Bible. You can find them in Matthew 26:17-30, Mark 14:12-26 and Luke 22:7-23.

All these accounts refer to this being a Passover meal. Passover was an annual feast where the Jews (Jesus and his disciples were Jews) recalled the way in which God rescued them from slavery in Egypt (you can read about this in Exodus 12). God told the Israelites to slaughter a lamb and smear it's blood over the doorposts of their homes (Exodus 12:7) so that when God's anger fell on the Egyptians, he 'passed over' the Israelite homes - they were 'saved' by the blood of the Passover lamb.

In the same way, Jesus is our 'Passover Lamb' - by his blood (death on the cross), we are 'saved' from God's righteous anger toward sin. When Jesus celebrated this 'Last Supper' with his disciples, he essentially said 'I am the Passover Lamb'. (This is why Jesus is sometimes called the 'Lamb of God' - we see this in John 1:29, 35-36).

Why is communion sometimes called The Last Supper or Eucharist?

There are many different names for communion, but they all refer to the same thing:

  • (Holy) Communion: to commune is to 'initimately share together'. The word 'holy' is sometimes used emphasising the way in which this meal is set apart from others.
  • The Last Supper: refers to this being Jesus' last meal with his disciples
  • The Lord's Supper: emphasises that it is Jesus who invites us to this meal
  • Eucharist: this is the Greek word for 'thanksgiving' - we should give thanks for Jesus' rescue of us whenever we share communion together

Does it matter how we receive communion?

In Paul's first letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 11:17-34), he tells the church to make sure they are taking communion 'in the right way' and in a way that 'is worthy of him'. He encourages them to take a careful look at themselves before they eat and drink (v.28). This call to examine ourselves and bring before God anything we need to confess is an important part of preparing ourselves to receive communion. We are then able to receive Jesus' gifts of bread and wine with thanksgiving, knowing that our sins are forgiven.

From a practical perspective, at Coro we usually come to the front of the sanctuary to receive communion, however there are other times when we are served in our seats. Coming forward can be helpful in terms of responding to Jesus' invitation (elders will serve people in their seats if they can't come forward). Taking communion in our seats can remind us of our oneness and can be helpful for those with mobility issues; from a purely practical level, it also takes less time!

Can anyone lead communion?

In the Uniting Church, communion must be led by someone who is either ordained or who has permission from the Presbytery. Most weeks some of our pastoral leaders will take some of the bread and wine after the service and visit those who were physically unable to be present, serving them the bread and wine in their homes.

Some helpful resources for your family

Communion Server Training - this booklet was written by Simon for a recent training session aimed at those who serve communion at Coro. As well as some practical direction Simon provides a great overview of communion.

Helping your children understand Communion (Hope Presbyterian Church, NZ) - a family take-away resource exploring the following:

  • Background to Communion
  • Communion in the Bible
  • Communion 'Table Manners'

Children and Communion - some thoughts on the rationale behind including children in communion

What is Communion? (Kids on the Move) - a helpful video that covers much of what is on this Resource Page using the three themes of Remember, Examine and Community.

More From 'Resources'

Prayer Resources

What is Prayer?

Prayer is conversation with God. Just as in any relationship, we grow closer to God as we both talk with and listen to him.

Why pray?

Good question! Prayer is not just a 'cry for help' when we're in trouble (although it can be that!) but part of a relationship with the God of the universe. Just as we talk to those we are in relationship with, we pray because we are in relationship with God.

How do I pray?

You can pray anywhere and in any way - out loud or silently, when you're walking, driving or even sitting in the loo. God always hears our prayers and always answers (although often not straight away and sometimes in ways that we don't expect!).

Just as there are many different ways to talk with someone and many forms of conversation, so there are many different ways to pray and many types of prayer. Jesus models prayer in [Matthew 6:9-13](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew+6%3A9-13&version=NIRV) (The Lord's Prayer) and we've included some helpful frameworks on this page. Some different types of prayer include:

- Praise / Adoration

- Confession / Saying sorry

- Lament / Grief

- Intercession / Praying for others

- Thanksgiving / Saying thank you

- Asking / Please

If you're not sure how to pray, ask us for a copy of the [trypraying booklet](https://www.trypraying.org/) - a simple, interactive 7-day prayer guide.

Some helpful resources for your family

20 Answers to Your Questions About Prayer (Kathryn Slattery) - check out [this free e-book](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1chSRksEVr5mrVFJwlAcz-nZBC9UBClTu/view?usp=sharing) of Prayer Q&As for kid-friendly answers to questions including:

- Can I know for sure that God hears my prayers?

- Can I know for sure that God will answer my prayers?

- Can God actually talk to me?

- What is intercessory prayer?

- Do miracles still happen today?

Praying with your family

- Check out this [Prayer Activities poster](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1d0hW5lpuuS7pWzWKjxG5BSeC5v7WV5bz/view?usp=sharing) for all sorts of fun and creative ways to pray (Let the Church Office know if you'd like this as an A2 printed poster)

- [Pray Every Day](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1djb1rlgq-kNOhWL4lGU9CJuzP2RmHvFg/view?usp=sharing) - make this month a month of prayer by writing or drawing one thing you prayed for in each square (with several helpful prompts)

- [What Do I Pray?](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dTTQy8BQqnnAlB0RPEyQptTtGa_u2t63/view?usp=sharing) - a series of 9 colourful prayer prompts in either [full page](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ctcUlCO_gJaGNPnkiswz_puUmw6Cpz4Q/view?usp=sharing) or [cut-out](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dTTQy8BQqnnAlB0RPEyQptTtGa_u2t63/view?usp=sharing) format complete with [instructions](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ej8gPWn6foZVhdKOd82aeEfwyDMkU_B-/view?usp=sharing)

- [Creative Family Prayer Times - 52 Fun Ways to Pray Together](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1cB57gtu4NSWV55OveeiJD6J4MXFCFo4m/view?usp=sharing) (Mike & Amy Nappa) - An excerpt from [this book](https://booko.com.au/9781600062575/Creative-Family-Prayer-Times) with daily, weekly, monthly, yearly and special occasion prayer activities

- [Prayer 3-in-a-row](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1eenh2KO1r-UTMuZn7VWLtMasX2uYlpFq/view?usp=sharing) - Pick a square and pray for what is in it. Put your counter there. The first person with 3 spaces in a row is the champion!

- [Prayer Cube (Please, Sorry, Thank you)](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1bRVEzPMjYqzZZz0xt1auC-xjn_tA9PtK/view?usp=sharing) - Print this out and glue together to form a cube. Roll the cube and pray whatever lands face up!

- [10 Ways to Teach Your Child to Pray](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1bSnenWBtYpS2XbzzQtxvVtClfbXtUMpU/view?usp=sharing) (imom.com) - 10 aspects of life with simple prayers for your children to follow.

- 4 pages of [Prayer Activities](https://www.lifelongfaith.com/uploads/5/1/6/4/5164069/prayer_-_children.pdf) (lifelingfaith.com) covering 'Prayer in My Life', 'Jesus Prays', 'Learning to Pray' and 'Try It! - Praying'

- A whole [Pinterest page](https://www.pinterest.com.au/growministries/prayer/) full of ideas (growministries.org.au)

Different models for prayer

- [5 Models for Prayer](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ejHtsCbZKKSWsYg-py_vUQMWcJDDvBYS/view?usp=sharing) - Common prayer guides incl. ACTS, SALT, TSP, BLESS

- [A Model for Intercessory Prayer](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1eyQMxGhW4ytXJUy5lxT8tzQc6JqDrO-_/view?usp=sharing) - A series of slides to be used for intercessory prayer (praying for others)

- [Froot Loop Prayers](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ejA-wU1Pgw9SekuzMEah_p-5DWQiOqLP/view?usp=sharing) - Prayer options at breakfast time!

- [5 Finger Prayer](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1eZDH1AB7EJklXUxNfx_mbGxmv3-1cUIm/view?usp=sharing) (GIFT) - There are many versions of this prayer - this version can be coloured in

- [Prayer Ideas](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1eYZ8N2IGSwIrQoU2xNWKWxKWxZ5XbQZG/view?usp=sharing) (GIFT) - 2 creative ways to pray - using fingerprints and paper airplanes!

Praying for your family

- [A Prayer for our Family](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1eghWfBRDNZ0Vjo4B2n6eW66elJEmBBSX/view?usp=sharing) (Holley Gerth) - A scripture-based prayer for our families

- [10 Ways to Pray For Your Child](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1bt5c2Sas4k2ABp24iS_XFwz4MBMHXoU9/view?usp=sharing) (imom.com) - 10 short prayers for your child covering all aspects of life

- [Bible Journalling](https://preview.mailerlite.com/p3q1i2/1419987824765048599/x2o2/) - using scripture to pray for your child

Other helpful resources

- Simon preached a series on Prayer, titled [Confident Helplessness: Prayer in the Name of Jesus](https://www.corouniting.org/messages-online-worship-services/jesus-ascension-the-reason-for-prayer)

- [Thy Kingdom Come](https://www.thykingdomcome.global/) is a global prayer initiative, held each year between Ascension and Pentecost - see our separate [Thy Kingdom Come Resource Page](https://www.corouniting.org/resources/thy-kingdom-come).

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Holy Week and Easter Resources

What is Holy Week?

Holy Week is the week leading up to Easter Day, starting on Palm Sunday. It is also the last week of Lent and includes Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Saturday.

Some helpful resources for your family

Lent + Easter (Strandz) - check out [this website](https://www.strandz.org.nz/lent--easter.html) for a huge number of ideas to help you journey through Holy Week and Easter, including:

- [A Lego Journey through Holy Week](https://www.buildfaith.org/journey-through-holy-week-with-lego/) - something to read, talk about and then make for each day of Holy Week

- [Holy Week Visual Aid](https://ideas.brf.org.uk/holy-week-visual-aid) - an adaptation of a well-tried paper-folding and paper-tearing exercise that tells the story of Holy Week

Easter crafts to make with your kids:

- Enjoy a range of activity sheets, crafts, games and a Passover meal with [He is Risen](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1iAbkthyW9F7RGWlAWZE9rY5q6hOBfLTd/view?usp=sharing) - an Easter Family Activity Guide from [minno](https://www.gominno.com/)

- Check out [this website](http://www.mylittlehouse.org/the-easter-story1.html) for a Easter scene model with [cut-outs](http://www.mylittlehouse.org/uploads/2/1/0/0/21005170/easter_files_model.pdf) and [instructions](http://www.mylittlehouse.org/uploads/2/1/0/0/21005170/easter_instructions.pdf) (quite involved - for older kids)

- Make your own [Palm Cross](https://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Palm-Frond-Cross) - a fun craft to do with your kids for Palm Sunday

- Make your own [Easter Garden](https://www.corouniting.org/resources/making-an-easter-garden) - we made kits for mainly music - includes some conversation starters

Talking with your kids about Good Friday and Easter - this is not easy, however it's important to do. The below articles provide ideas for talking about Jesus' death with your kids in age appropriate ways and without scaring them!

- [Not the best day for kids: the challenge of Good Friday](https://www.vinteract.com.au/view/i/Ox54fW4Kj8WveUD3UPzNC4tyu) (Anglican Taonga Easter 2012: Magazine of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand)

- [Talking to Young Kids about Good Friday and Easter](https://www.cornerstonesforparents.com/talking-young-kids-good-friday-easter) (Cornerstones for Parents)

- [Answers to Questions Kids Ask About Good Friday and the Crucifixion](https://www.cornerstonesforparents.com/answers-questions-kids-good-friday-crucifixion) (Cornerstones for Parents)

Making Holy Week 'holy' this year - some ideas for helping to make Holy Week 'a thing' and avoiding it just passing you by:

- [Walking through Holy Week](https://drive.google.com/file/d/1GhqGwxeNq652OLjyWtYPFQ1LP523yz85/view?usp=sharing) (Focus on the Family) - includes daily activities, recipes, scavenger hunt, Seder meal, games and puzzles

- [5 Ways of Celebrating Holy Week with Children](https://www.illustratedchildrensministry.com/2018/holy-week-with-children/) (Illustrated Children's Ministry) - including baking ideas and giving away coats

- [Holy Week Prayer Journal](https://corouniting.org.vinteract.com.au/d/5oEtp4xa4v0JVpNDeEJsddVcA) (faithgateway) - readings, devotions and some journalling space

- [Holy Week Timeline](https://corouniting.org.vinteract.com.au/d/zibmWmt7Fb8NTvnDLUk9P3yti) (biblegateway) - a visual understanding of what happened when during Holy Week complete with scripture references

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Lent Resources

What is Lent?

Lent is the period of 40 days (excluding Sundays) immediately prior to Easter Sunday. It is traditionally a time of repentance and renewal of faith in Jesus.

Why 40 days?

Good question! The number 40 is significant in the Bible, usually referring to a period of testing or trial, eg.

- 40 days of rain when Noah and his family were in the ark ([Genesis 7:17](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+7%3A17&version=NIRV))

- 40 years of the Israelites wandering in the desert ([Exodus 16:35](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+7%3A17&version=NIRV))

- Jesus' 40 days in the wilderness ([Matthew 4:1-11](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew+4%3A1-11&version=NIRV))

What's with Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day) and Ash Wednesday?

'Shrove' is from the verb 'shrive', meaning to confess, ie. to admit all the things that you have thought, said and done that are wrong. In French this is Mardi Gras - 'fat Tuesday', and for Spanish-speaking people it is Carnival which may have originated from the Latin carne vale, meaning 'to farewell meat' (often given up during Lent) or even 'to say goodbye to the flesh' (possibly giving rise to the modern day trend of giving up something you enjoy during Lent).

In earlier times, many Christians would fast from eggs and milk for Lent; using these up before Lent gave rise to the cooking of pancakes, and hence 'Pancake Day'. This also gave rise to the tradition of giving eggs at Easter when the fast was broken (see [this article](https://www.christianitytoday.com/history/2010/february/how-fast-of-lent-gave-us-easter-eggs.html) for more details).

Ash Wednesday is when ashes (often from the burned palm crosses from the previous Palm Sunday) would traditionally be worn, symbolising grief or shame (see [Esther 4:1](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=esther+4%3A1&version=NIRV), [Jonah 3:6](https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=jonah+3%3A6&version=NASB)). This marks the start of Lent, a season of repentance from our sin and humble acknowledgement of our own mortality and dependence on God.

Some helpful resources for your family

Lent + Easter (Strandz) - check out [this website](https://www.strandz.org.nz/lent--easter.html) for a huge number of ideas to help you journey through Lent:

- [Intergenerational Lenten Study: 'A Pilgrimage of Grace'](https://www.strandz.org.nz/grace.html) - something to talk about, explore, thank and watch each week

- Lots of links to videos and various Lent and Easter resources

Lenten Family Devotions: (Storyboard) - check out [this website](https://storyboardingchurch.wordpress.com/2020/02/14/lenten-family-devotions-2020/) for a creation devotional entitled [Lions, and Camels, and Goats! Oh my!](https://storyboardingchurch.files.wordpress.com/2020/02/lions-and-camels-and-goats-oh-my.pdf) that runs from 23 Feb - 13 Apr. It’s simple to do and takes 5 minutes to read the daily devotional, ask the question, and then pray. You can use this devotional while you eat dinner, lunch, or breakfast together, in the car, or before bed.

Lent: A Journey to Easter (Anglican Diocese of Auckland) - check out [this website](https://lent.nz/welcome) for an interactive Lent calendar:

- Readings and Activities for each day of Lent, split into weekly chunks

- Content from various authors and artists

Lent: What do Christians remember during Lent? (RE:start) - check out [this website](https://request.org.uk/restart/2014/06/05/lent/) for a whole series of pages relating to Lent and Easter:

- Shrove Tuesday: What do pancakes have to do with Easter?

- Lent Today: How are Christians learning to 'do Lent generously'? See [40acts.org.uk](http://www.40acts.org.uk/) for more info.

Fasting from, Feasting on Ideas (Building Faith) - some great ideas for [fasting from and feasting on](https://buildfaith.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Fasting-From-Feasting-On.pdf) for Lent

- practical ideas to fast from with matching ideas to feast on

- suggestions for how to use these to grow spiritually

Praying through Lent (Praying in Color) - various different [calendar templates](https://prayingincolor.com/tag/lent) to use for a daily prayer practice.

Lent Giving Calendar (My Faith, My Life) - this [Giving Calendar](https://myfaithmylife.org/giving-calendar-2020/) (note you'll need to translate the references to US coins...!) helps families:

- be attentive to, and give thanks for, the abundance of our lives

- engage in the practice of giving out of thanksgiving for that abundance

Family Lent Ideas (Flame - Creative Children's Ministry) - [this blog post](http://flamecreativekids.blogspot.com/p/family-lent-ideas.html) (or [this PDF](https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0RweH-3RyI0ZXNFOE85TVFuN3c/view)) have fun, simple and creative activities for each day of Lent, such as:

- Play dough prayers

- Blessings jar

- Various baking activities

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