Wondering about the Sacraments with Children

Wondering aloud is a great way to be with children.  It is not a time of teaching, and it is not a time for looking for right answers.  You are spending time with children to discover with them what they already think, know, and believe about God. 

A child who is baptized is marked as a member of the family of God because she is baptized.  The Lord’s Supper is set out on the family table.  Gathering there and feasting there is for every child of God, no matter what their age, in order that each might be nurtured in faith and grow in love for God and for one another.  Every child of God is to enjoy and be blessed!

Below you’ll find a variety of suggestions for ways to wonder with your child about the sacraments. The content isn't meant to be used all in one sitting; think of it more as a helpful list of ideas and questions to guide the conversations you have together. You may find it helpful to print these pages and tuck them inside your family Bible so that you’ll have them on hand to use as you prepare for the Lord’s Supper together or to jump start a family devotion on the sacraments. 

Both Baptism and the Lord’s Supper

Wonder about this with children: In both Baptism and the Lord’s Supper we look...

  • backward:  We remember the story of God’s saving work in Christ by the Spirit, and we celebrate this saving work for the whole world.
  • upward: We are in communion with Jesus by the Holy Spirit, even though Jesus is ascended to heaven.
  • forward: We already remember and celebrate the feast we will share with Jesus when he returns!
  • around us: We see that we are not a disciple of Christ all alone, but in community, in a family, and we encourage one another, just by being together.
  • before us: By his Spirit, Christ is present to us as the One who baptizes, and the One who hosts us at the family table.
  • and within: During the celebration of the sacraments, we look into our hearts to delight in the ways the Spirit is at work in our hearts to know God, to love God, and to serve God.

Baptism

  • Remember with a child the occasion of his or her baptism.  Bring out pictures if you are able, bulletin announcements, gifts and mementos, especially those given by the church. 
  • Recall together the promises set forth by God in baptism: that God claims us in Christ, his Son, to be his own and promises us the Holy Spirit so we can live in faith.  Recall together the promises made by God’s people when a baptism is celebrated: to help the one who is baptized to grow in faith, and, for themselves, to live in love, faith, and hope in the world. 
  • Use a song book such as Lift Up Your Hearts to explore songs and prayers for celebrating baptism: what themes do you discover about the meaning of baptism?
  • Wonder with children... What does it mean to belong to a family? What does it mean to you to belong to the family of God?
  • Explore Bible stories about Abraham, Noah, and Jesus’s baptism. What do they tell us about belonging to God’s family?
  • Explore Bible stories that refer to water. Wonder together how the water in the story might point to God’s promises shown to us in baptism: promises about washing us, making us new, marking us as God’s own in Christ. 
  • What does it mean to be baptized? Do we see ourselves and the world differently because we are baptized? How?  

Lord’s Supper

  • Remember with children how the Lord’s Supper is celebrated in your church. 
  • Bring out pictures if you are able, perhaps from your church’s website. 
  • Use a song book such as Lift Up Your Hearts to explore songs and prayers for celebrating the Lord’s Supper: what themes do you discover about the meaning of the Lord’s Supper?
  • Wonder with children... What is so important about food and drink? When you are a baby or a child, who gives you food and drink? Before or after you ask for it? So what is so important about the food and drink God gives us? Where does God give it to us? Why does God give it to us?  What is so important about this food and drink?
  • Wonder with children about the symbols of the Lord’s Supper... Bread is food for the journey; it nourishes us and helps us to grow. Juice/wine is the color of blood, which suggests both death and life. Families bring out wine for celebrations, and this is a celebration!
  • Wonder with children about the story told in Mark 14:12-26, or Matthew 26:17-30, or Luke 22:7-23.  Wonder some more... How are the meanings of Passover and the Lord’s Supper the same? Death ‘passed over’ God’s people, marked as God’s own. Death ‘passes over us,’ God’s people marked as God’s own in Jesus Christ, in baptism. With Moses, God’s people ‘pass over’ from bondage to freedom, from death to life! In Jesus Christ, we ‘pass over’ from sin’s bondage to freedom, from death to new life! This is what the family celebrates—yes, celebrates!—when God gathers us at the Table.
  • Wonder with children about the story told in Luke 24:13-35: What do you discover about the Lord’s Supper in this story?
  • Wonder with children about the different names the church gives to this sacrament:

The Lord’s Supper: We remember the past, when the covenant was renewed in Christ; we share in the supper Jesus shared with his friends.

Communion: We are renewed and refreshed in our union with Christ, once marked by our baptism; we are renewed and refreshed in our union with others, the community of faith—we fellowship in the present with the great family of God.

Eucharist: We celebrate with thanksgiving; we celebrate in hope for the future.  What are we celebrating with such thanksgiving?

Material compiled, edited, and supplemented by Sue A. Rozeboom for CRC Faith Formation Ministries, © 2015. Churches are invited to use this copy freely for creating resources for their churches. A simple acknowledgment of its origin is fitting.