Monday, October 1, 2012

Recieving the Kingdom of Heaven Mark 10:2-16

Jesus said, "...anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." Mark 10 16 NIV

Last Wednesday night I was priviledge to lead a first communion workshop.  We emphasize Jesus coming to us in ordinary things--like bread and wine.  Young people, from 2nd to 8th grade, and parents came.  This year was different for me: our older two daughters came getting ready to come to the table too. 
We started watching a classic video, Grandma's Bread.  The story puts communion and family into perspective.  Visiting before bed Wednesday night our girls said it was was sad story.  But it was good to know of the clear promise.  In communion we join with the whole body of Christ--both alive on earth and in the church triumphant.
After the video the group of 26 kids and many parents headed downstairs. Each of the young people, coached by parents, painted a ceramic chalice with underglaze.  It's theirs to keep--a reminder of the celebration and Christ's presence in communion for them.  Chalice painting started with conversation between students and parents.  They thought together about symbols for communion and Christ.  Sketching on paper came first.  After a few minutes chalices were passed out.  One broke--proof of how real the chalices are--reminding me again of just how incarnate Christ is broken for us. 
The painters chose crosses, bibles, crowns of thorns, alphas and omegas, grapes, and bread--all reminders of Christ.  Some took half the time sketching; others eagerly splashed colorful symbols on their stoneware chalice.
An hour into the workshop came thorough hand washing--an essential step for 26 young people making bread.  They were encouraged by parents and a long time church member in the kitchen.  Whole wheat and white flour, salt and baking powder, honey and molasses, oil and hot water were mixed together following a recipe.  Hands got dirty shaping loaves which were placed quickly into warm ovens.  16 loaves are ready for World Communion Sunday and first communion on October 6 & 7.
The night ended as we gathered around fellowship hall tables for taste testing.  First a wafer of bread.  They finished the bread with a reminder that we eat and drink the bread and wine, the body and blood of Christ, for the forgiveness of sins.  Christ promises to be with us, under the bread and wine, for our forgiveness.  He promises to be with us taking away the junk and hurt we've caused God and people around us.
Little cups of wine were passed out.  And the young people waited to sample it together.  Moms and dads pulled out cell phone cameras to record the moment their child took this first taste of communion wine.  Many puckered faces were recorded for posterity.  We prayed together thanking God for coming to us in bread and wine. 
May we be ready to recieve Jesus like children.
May we be ready when the Son of God comes to us in bread and in wine, in the word, and in the lives of our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Pax, John

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