One of the joys I experience leading our communal worship on Saturday nights is watching the line of children come up to receive Eucharist. As its name implies, the bread and the wine of Eucharist are gifts, freely given to all who come. Some might object that children don’t understand what communion is about and therefore, they shouldn’t come forward to receive it until they can prove to us they understand it.
This sounds suspiciously familiar: “Some people brought even their babies to Jesus so he could touch them. When the followers saw this, they told them to stop. But Jesus called for the children, saying, ‘Let the little children come to me. Don’t stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to people who are like these children. I tell you the truth, you must accept thekingdom of God as if you were a child, or you will never enter it.’” (Luke 18:15-17)
A child may not understand who Christ is or what the kingdom of Godimplies, but if he is with us at Gather, he has been invited to be part of Christ’s community. “Large crowds traveled with Jesus” (Luke 14:25); thousands belonged to Christ’s community, but that didn’t necessarily mean they all believed in who He was or that they decided to become His disciples. Some hung around because they were curious about Jesus, wondering if he could be the Messiah; some thought he told good stories; others waited for miracles and still others were simply fans of celebrity. In Matthew 22:1-14, many are invited to the wedding feast, but few are chosen.
At some point though, Jesus confronts us, like Peter, with the question, “Who do you say that I am?” He challenges us to not just belong to community, but to commit ourselves to Him, to believe (John 6:26-29). Those who believe and embrace His mission by taking up their cross and following him become his disciples.
“But what about you?” he asked, “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 16:15)
So let us all like our children come to the table of the Eucharist—undeserving, unworthy, and in large part, ignorant—and pray for us all that, like Peter, when we stand at the cusp of belonging to belief, our Father in heaven will reveal to us who Jesus is.