First Communions, 15 July 2012
At the heart of the church’s life is the sharing of bread and wine in an act of worship at which we recall Jesus sharing the Passover meal with his disciples on the night before his arrest and death. At that meal Jesus said that when his disciples shared bread and wine and asked for God’s blessing he would be present with them.
At St John’s we celebrate this act of worship several times a week, with the main celebration every Sunday morning. In sharing this bread and wine – sharing the presence of the Son of God – we believe that earth is united with heaven in spite of the failings of humankind, that we are united with one another in spite of our differences, that we are united as a community in spite of sickness and death. So often bread and wine are symbols of possession and greed, but here they are symbols of our calling to share with one another and to stand equally before God as brothers and sisters of the Kingdom.
The Church of England’s common practice is to allow young members to share this Communion from the time when they are Confirmed in the Christian faith by our Bishop – usually at the age of 12 or 13. We believe that our young people who are regular attenders of the church may well grasp the central themes of this service at a much younger age and, with the permission of our Bishop, we run a programme of preparation for those who wish to take part and then celebrate the first time that they share this Communion with God and the members of this church.
On Sunday 15 July, and Elizabeth, Ella, Holly, Madison and Nana celebrated with their families and friends as they took this step and reminded us that Jesus said that we should become like them if we wish to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (and not the other way round!).