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COMMUNION ROTATION

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Last Supper
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Knox PC, Georgetown

Communion Rotation/Do this in Remembrance of Me

Click here for Overview * Background Notes * In the Arts * Questions for Discussion * Workshops


Workshops include: Arts * Kitchen * Music * Storytelling * Computer * Worship * Writing * Outreach



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OVERVIEW

TOPIC/STORY: Practice of Holy Communion


• Arts – make communion table cloth or table runner; make rub out pictures; scratch clay sculpture

• Kitchen – make simple bread that could be used at communion

• Music – learn a communion song that could be used as offertory in communion service, just a closer walk with thee;

• Storytelling – arrange visit from members of worship committee to tell kids what it takes to prepare for and clean up after a communion service; show them the kinds of dishes, cups and trays used in your church, explain who serves whom

• Worship – arrange for the children to play roles in serving communion at your church

• Computer – Jesus in Space, Last Supper module

• Writing – write introductory and closing prayers for a communion service at your church; look at samples of past prayers; discuss what should be expressed in these prayers; write new verses for a communion song or sung grace, like Johnny appleseed.

* Outreach – have classes take communion to housebound seniors in your church, or perhaps to a nearby nursing home. They can use the songs, prayers, etc. they may have created in other workshops.


SOURCE TEXTS:

* Matthew 26.17 – 30

• Mark 14. 12 – 26

• Luke 22. 7 – 22

• 1 Corinthians 11. 17 – 33



MEMORABLE VERSE

1 Cor. 11.24:

This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me. (NIV)


After story time in church, all will meet in central Sunday school area for gathering time, brief review, then to scheduled workshops.


BACKGROUND NOTES & OTHER NEAT INFO

Who gets a seat at the table?


Has this ever happened to you – you’ve belonged to a church for a while and enjoyed communion with your children, then you move or visit another church, and the kids don’t seem to be around for communion any more.

Whatever the reason – adult preferences, children’s preferences, that’s not the way we do it around here, we don’t have a baptism module we can run in our ce program so kids can be informed enough about communion to participate – it’s a shame. There’s nothing like those young voices asking what it’s all about to help adults appreciate the sacrament more.

I’ve enjoyed having our kids with at a traditional cube and cups communion. I’ve enjoyed hearing other people’s answers to children’s questions at intinction-type services at outdoor Sunday school picnic occasions.

(One young girl, about 12 yrs old, asked her grandmother what it means. “It means we believe in Jesus Christ,” said Gramma)

This lesson had been written to provide parents and Christian educators with a rotation that can be run to inform the kids about communion so they can participate at the age your church allows.


What’s your tradition?

Find our what’s the general rule governing children’s participation in communion in your church tradition.

My tradition is small town Ontario (Canadian) Presbyterian.


On the Presbyterian.ca website, you can find a link to a document called Living Faith: A Statement of Christian Belief which sets out the main points about communion according to this denomination. Find the link here and follow links to download the pdf. Communion is found under Section 7, “God’s Church.”

[For ease of assembling a lesson for children, I include below the text on Holy Communion.]

7.7 Holy Communion

7.7.1 In breaking bread and drinking wine
Jesus told us to remember him.
In this action
called Holy Communion, Lord's Supper, or Eucharist,
Christ offers himself to us
and we present ourselves to him
in worship and adoration.

7.7.2 In Holy Communion
Christ places his table in this world
to feed and bless his people.
The Holy Spirit so unites us in Christ
that in receiving the bread and wine in faith
we share in his body and blood.

7.7.3 The Lord's Supper is a joyful mystery
whereby Jesus takes the bread and wine
to represent his atoning sacrifice,
deepening our union with himself
and with each other,
giving us of his life and strength.
Here Christ is present in his world
proclaiming salvation until he comes--
a symbol of hope for a troubled age.

7.7.4 The Eucharist is thanksgiving to God.
We pray for the world
and with gratitude offer our lives to God.
We celebrate his victory over death
and anticipate the joyous feast we shall have
in his coming kingdom.
We pledge allegiance to Christ as Lord,
are fed as one church,
receive these signs of his love,
and are marked as his.

7.7.5 Those who belong to Christ come gladly to his table
to make a memorial of his life and death,
to celebrate his presence,
and together as his church offer him thanks.


Guidelines for who can participate in communion can also be found on the site, in a document called Catechism for Today. To download this document, click here and follow links.


Page 25 gives the answer to who can take part:

"All those who love the Lord Jesus and belong to any Christian church may participate. We come to the Lord’s table not because any individual goodness gives us a right to come, but because Christ welcomes us. He loved us, gave himself for us, and invites us to receive his body and blood to our spiritual nourishment and growth in grace. Baptized children may participate if they have their parent’s permission, the session’s approval, and have received instruction in the meaning of the Lord’s Supper. "


Instruction – What should we tell the kids, what should we learn ourselves?

Okay, okay, we all know basically communion is a reenactment of the Last Supper, an opportunity to remind ourselves through actions that speak louder than words that we all carry around inside us a spark of divinity.

What we should teach the kids can include reviewing scripture references to the Lord’s Supper.

It could also include some interesting points on the topic from Borg and Crossan’s The Last Week (New York: Harper Collins, 2006). In Chapter 5, “Thursday,” the authors highlight four key points of note.

1. Shared meals as “one of the most distinctive features of Jesus’s public activity (p. 113).” Not just as a fun thing to do. “For Jesus, real food – bread – mattered (p. 114).” It’s the central line of the Lord’s Prayer. “For Jesus’s peasant audience, bread – enough food for the day – was one of the two central survival issues of their lives (the other was debt). The Last Supper continues and culminates in Jesus’s emphasis upon meals and food as God’s justice.”

2. Echoes of Feeding the 5000. “The point of the story is not multiplication, but distribution. The food already there is enough for all when it passes through the hands of Jesus as the incarnation of divine justice (p. 115).”… “A shared meal of what is already there among all those present becomes both the great sacramental symbol and the primary practical program of the kingdom movement (p. 116).”

3. Echoes of a Passover Meal. “The Passover meal, the seder memorializes the first Passover and the exodus by bringing it into the present… For the empire of Pharaoh, substitute the Roman Empire or any other empire, and the subversive nature of this story is not difficult to discern (p. 117).” The authors make a special note in this section: “the Passover lamb is a sacrifice in the broad sense of the word, but not in the narrow sense of substitutionary sacrifice. Its purpose is twofold: protection against death and food for the journey. The story makes no mention of sin or guilt, substitution or atonement.”

4. Active participation with Jesus in a new way of life. “…it was by participation with Jesus and even more, in Jesus that his followers were to pass through death to resurrection, from the domination life of human normalcy to the servant life of human transcendence (p. 120).”


And just because I like it so much, I’m going to drop in this passage from an essay by Canadian writer and scholar Northrop Frye. It gives much food for thought on communion. It’s from the essay, “Symbols,” in Northrop Frye on Religion (Toronto: U of T Press, 2000).

“The teaching of Jesus follows the pattern of that of Israel. He insists that the reality behind everything we do, the dark world of inner words, is a kingdom in its own right, and the only kingdom to which we really owe loyalty….We are even told that our knowledge of death is not as certain as we have thought it to be, and that when we reach our own death, we shall be drawn out of the daylight world of appearance into a world where beliefs are the only realities, where there are no longer any symbols and where real existence is to be inseparably part of a God who is also this rejected man.

“Such a belief is symbolized by the rite of communion, the act of eating and drinking a body which is the uncreated form of God, man and nature. The rite points to a state of existence in which our ordinary assumptions with light and darkness go into reverse, when we discover that this sunlit world is really the uncomprehending darkness, and the darkness where we can only listen to the Word really a blaze of light, a golden city (p. 289).”

“…It is only the language of symbol that can express a faith which is pure vision, and has no wish to improve on anyone else’s faith. In short, the language of symbols is the language of love, and that, as Paul reminds us, will last longer than any other form of human communication [1 Corinthians 13:8].”



IN THE ARTS

Great images

Lots of help here from our friends at Biblical art on the www. Click here and follow links for amazing pieces by Blake, Durer, Dali, Rembrandt, Titian and tons more.

Uncommon verse

A tiny perfect poem, “His was an open heart,” from Montreal poet AM Klein capturing the warm transcendence of hospitality:

His was an open heart, a lavish hand,
His table ever set for any guest:
A rabbi passing from a foreign land,
A holy man, a beggar, all found rest
Beneath his roof; even a Gentile saw
A welcome at the door, a face that smiled.
The chillest heart beneath his warmth would thaw.
And for these deeds, God blessed him that he saw
The cradle never emptied of its child.

Memorable music

Look no further than GF Handel’s Messiah. How about the aria,‘He shall feed his flock.’ Look it up via Google or Youtube. Enjoy!

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

1. What are some other names for Holy Communion?

2. What is the model for the Lord’s Supper?

3. Where do we find references to the Lord’s Supper in the Bible?

4. In what way were meals important in Jesus’s life and ministry?

5. Is bread purely symbolic to Jesus in the Last Supper

WORKSHOPS

Please find below suggested workshops for this unit. For each one, when you are in real time with the children:

1. Quickly review or recap the story with them before starting activity. Each week, see how much more detail each group of kids can supply on the story they've been studying.

2. Link or explain your activity to the current story.


Arts 1 - make a communion table cloth.

Using a length of cheap cotton broadcloth, have the children create a border of communion images around the edge of the cloth. Any kind of markers will do.

Arts 2 – create communion table runners. Same idea as above using smaller rectangles of cloth. This way the kids that need to take their masterpieces home are free to do so.

Arts 3 – rub out pictures.

This idea comes from the Art Attack website. The Frye passage in Background Notes above depicts communion as an acted out acknowledgement that this bright world is the illusion and God’s kingdom of peace and justice is the golden city of light. Create a photographic negative kind of image of communion to reflect this.

Basic materials: paper, artist’s charcoal, various erasers (with thick and thin edges).

Cover paper with charcoal. With erasers, rub away the charcoal leaving white lines beneath for final image.

For more detail on this artwork, click on this link to Art Attack , and go to the Rs, scroll down to Rub Out Pictures.


Arts 4 – make a scratch clay sculpture.

Use the example of the Last Supper casting from Knox PC, Georgetown found at the top of this lesson. Create your own Last Supper sculpture by rolling out a layer of DAS clay over a square of cereal cardboard. Scratch image into clay using toothpicks.

KITCHEN - make Chippewa Bannock.

This recipe has a hint of good old Canadian maple syrup.

Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups cornmeal, 1/2 cup water, 4 tablespoons melted butter, 4 tablespoons maple syrup or honey), 1/2 teaspoon salt (optional), 3 to 4 tablespoons vegetable oil (for frying)

Instructions: Combine cornmeal, water, oil, syrup and salt. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Drop the batter by tablespoons into the hot oil. Flatten with a spatula and fry cakes until they are crisp and browned on both sides. Add more oil as needed.


MUSIC - teach a song for communion offertory.

How about the old gospel favourite, “Just a closer walk with thee.” Goes with the theme of taking the journey of transformation with Jesus.

Here are the lyrics:

I am weak, but Thou art strong;
Jesus, keep me from all wrong;
I'll be satisfied as long
As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.

Just a closer walk with Thee,
Precious Jesus, hear my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

Through this world of toil and snares,
If I falter, Lord, who cares?
Who with me my burden shares?
None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.

Just a closer walk with Thee,
Precious Jesus, hear my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

When my feeble life is o'er,
Time for me will be no more;
Guide me gently, safely o'er
To Thy kingdom shore, to Thy shore.

Just a closer walk with Thee,
Precious Jesus, hear my plea,
Daily walking close to Thee,
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

STORYTELLING – arrange visit from members of worship committee to tell kids what it takes to prepare for and clean up after a communion service; show them the kinds of dishes, cups and trays used in your church, explain who serves whom

WORSHIP – arrange for the children to play roles in serving communion at your church

COMPUTER – Jesus in Space, Last Supper module

WRITING – write introductory and closing prayers for a communion service at your church; look at samples of past prayers; discuss what should be expressed in these prayers; write new verses for a communion song or sung grace, like Johnny appleseed.

OUTREACH – have classes take communion to housebound seniors in your church, or perhaps to a nearby nursing home. They can use the songs, prayers, etc. they may have created in other workshops.


-- March 21, 2008

Do This in Remembrance of Me/Communion Rotation © March 2008, LD McKenzie

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All original text 2004 - 2014, LD McKenzie

For a brief site ed's bio, click here:

BIO

Components of these lesson sets may be used for non-profit educational purposes, citing this author and site.

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