Engaging Each Day with Action Words

Bite. — Size Matters to a Four-Year-Old at Communion

on February 10, 2013

This morning at my little church in a little town that is doing big things, the guest minister from the Wesley Foundation shared a story about taking communion. In his story, a little girl was wondering why the college students were giggling as they shared really big pieces of bread with each other. He answered that it is kind of like sharing ‘big love’.

I giggled out loud. And thought of my X. communion

A few weeks ago, X and I got in line to participate in communion at the end of the Sunday morning service. As we waited, I whispered in his ear, as I always do, to remind him that this is about putting Jesus in your heart. I’m no minister, but I feel like this is a good way of getting a four-year-old to stay focused on what we are doing here, in this moment. It is my MommyVerbs way of trying to bring some intention and reverence to this action.

He nodded his head as if to let me know 1)”Yes, I get it”, 2)”I got this, Mom”, and 3) he obviously has already figured out to nod and give me what I want sometimes….because it just makes his life easier. Good lad, that one. Smart, too.

As we made our way to the front of the line, there was a young boy, only a few years older than X himself, handing out the bread while saying “Body of Christ given for you”. I suppose the young boy took one look at X, sized him up and determined that he needed a smaller piece of bread than the others. (I totally get it–to a seven year old, a four year old looks really little.) In that instant, the young man made a judgement and preceded to pull off a really tiny piece of bread for X. He handed it to him.

I watched as X looked at me, made a mean face and then went on to the next person holding the glass of juice. With a “Blood of Christ shed for you”, he dutifully dipped his crumb into the glass and put it in his mouth.

I quickly took my communion and then started ‘shuuuussshhhhing!” the very (read VERY) disgruntled boy-child. He was so upset that he had gotten such a tiny piece of bread. He was not shy (or quiet) in letting me know, in no uncertain terms, that it wasn’t fair that kid had given him such a teeny tiny piece. I reassured him. “Shuuuuuusssshhhhed!” him some more, telling him that people are praying and talking with God and he needed to be quiet. I reminded him that it is not about the bread and juice, but about putting Jesus in his heart. And I’m sure I finished up with some MommyVerbs classic lines like, “Alright. That’s enough. Enough. Stop. We will talk about it later.”

Poor thing. He couldn’t let it go. He talked about it all the way home. He mentioned it randomly to his preschool teacher that week. He complained to his Dad. I think at some point he told his Nana about it. It really hurt his feelings. There was no way he deserved a smaller piece of bread because he was younger and/or smaller.

The next week, as we were getting in line for Communion, X made sure we were in a line with two ‘grown-ups’ in charge of the bread and juice. He clearly thought the ‘grown-ups’ had a better command on the bread distribution and portion control.

Granted, for X, I think it is mostly about the bread. But maybe not. Maybe size does matter. Maybe the size of the symbol of the bread means something more. Maybe it is what we need. We get what we need.

And if the bread can symbolize the big love that we need to have for each other, some days, maybe a crumb will do.

And some days we all may need our very own loaves.


9 responses to “Bite. — Size Matters to a Four-Year-Old at Communion

  1. Lead Our Lives says:

    Beautiful perspective on what your dear X was likely feeling and what we, as adults feel we need sometimes. Children teach us so much! It is about size…of the love in our hearts. 😉

    • MommyVerbs says:

      This blog is giving me both the opportunity and the motivation to really try to pay attention and capture some of these stories. I’m positive that I am missing things, but I’m thankful to have captured these stories, these moments, these lessons.

      • Lead Our Lives says:

        I enjoy your stories. Reminds me of the period in my life when my boys where that age. So much fun!

  2. Jan says:

    Wonderful story! I love the way you see things. 🙂

  3. Ziya Tamesis says:

    “shusssshhhing” – does X know you have thought about his experience and taken it seriously? has he been able to express his thoughts and emotions and have them validated?

    • MommyVerbs says:

      Great Questions. Thanks for making this Momma really pause and reflect. I make a few assumptions and generalizations in order to tell this story, but I feel confident in answering yes to both questions. The ‘shusshhing’ was more about waiting for an appropriate time for us to discuss and for him to air his complaints in a space that didn’t disturb so many others. We talked about it on lots of levels. I try to model the idea that if it is a big deal to the kiddos, then it is a big deal. Period. Perception is reality. I will say, I think he might be over it. I tried to get him to tell the story in the car yesterday and he said, “you already know it, you can tell it.” 🙂 I’m also pretty confident in the fact that he is a confident, resilient person and I’m super proud of him and how he interacts with the world. I’m looking forward to many more adventures on this journey with X and Y. I learn more from them than they probably do from me.

  4. […] don’t get at home any more. Things like Bagels, muffins, and apple juice. (And we know that X has strong feelings about communion.) And there is an indoor playground. But more than that, they have made friends there. They love to […]

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