So, I’m talking to a good friend of mine about paedo-communion. We’re both fathers with sons and he is sympathetic and somewhat on the same page. And I know where he is coming from. And I expect it. And so, there he goes, he says, “I’m not saying that I believe in Presumptive Regeneration but I’m also not saying that I believe in Presumptive Unregeneration, I think…”
“Stop”, I say, “just hold on a minute! What are you talking about?” And he’s looking at me. And I’m looking at him.
“What are you talking about?” I repeat again. And I know that he knows that I know what he’s talking about. But I just broke the rules. He knows that and I know that.
So I say to him, “What you just said doesn’t sound like anything in the Bible.” His eyes went wide. And he waited.
So I went on. “You can define biblical realities all you want, just be careful that when you are done, you keep it real.”
He’s still staring at me, and I’m thinking, what a good listener.
“Think about,” I suggest, “The Angel of Lord is going neighborhood to neighborhood in Egypt, slaying all the first born males. A father with a 2-3 year old boy, the eldest of all the siblings, sits and waits. Do you believe for a moment that that Dad didn’t tell Momma to take and mash up some lamb and bread and give it to that toddler? The Bible says the Lamb was for the household. When do you think the children started eating of the Passover?”
“Well,” he says, “I remember when this pastor, who is a Jew, came from New York to speak in our church. He took us through the whole Seder Meal that the Orthodox Jewish people do every year at Passover. Each item on the table is explained regarding its particular significance. The bread is symbolic of…”
“Stop”, I say, “just hold on a minute! What are you talking about?” So again, he’s looking at me and I’m looking at him. But this time he smiles a little, which is, of course, encouraging.
“What are you talking about?” I repeat again. And I know that he knows that I know what he’s talking about. But I just broke the rules again. He knows that and I know that. And we both also know that I’m doing this on purpose.
So I say to him, “What you just said doesn’t sound like what happened in the Bible. What you are relating to me is a culinary catechism. Catechism is fine, especially when accompanied by food, but what does that have to do with what happened at Passover?
When did the Jewish people, Orthodox or Messianic, begin this formal, ritualistic, four cups of wine ceremony?
I’ll bet that the first Passover wasn’t some staid, well-ordered, incremental meal where each dish was carefully explained. (Not that there is anything particularly wrong with doing it.)
When did the meal start to become a definition as opposed to a commemoration? At the second Passover? Perhaps after Israel entered the land Canaan? Maybe during the time of Samuel. Or is it relatively new, like say 400-700 years old?
The question is, when did it become a meal so systematically ordered with so much required consumption that young children became excluded? Huh! Can you tell me where that is in the Bible?”
His eyes glowed. Kind of like when you first know Jesus loves you. His mind raced to add to what I was talking about, but his noetic structure was so clogged with precise statements and theological buzz-words that he waited to speak, giving his brain time to adjust. He was also a little embarrassed. He knew now that I had changed the rules. If he didn’t stay with scripture, he could not play. And he wanted to play. Which is good. I want him to play too. All school and no life make Jack a dull Gnostic.
So I went on. “How did an Israelite father view his son after circumcision?”
Eager now, he answered, “Like a member of the covenant.”
And I said, “Right!” He liked that. He liked that I didn’t say, “Stop” again. I liked it too. Though I was ready to say “Stop” again if I needed to.
“So, as a member of the covenant, what is that son entitled to?” I asked smiling.
“Everything in the covenant.” he said.
“So,” says I, “If we teach our children to pray and to sing hymns and psalms, if we expect then to understand the scriptures we teach them and to apply this knowledge, if we take them to church and also have family worship, if we discipline them in Jesus name, and home school them, teaching them that every subject is subject to Christ…”
He suddenly bursts out, “Then why do we withhold the Lord’s Table from them?”
He is smiling big now. And I’m thinking, he interrupted me. How rude. I realize that I had a run-on sentence going there, but when one is waxing so eloquent one should be allowed to finish so that all present might be duly admonished and blessed.
But he’s smiling, cause he is definitely back in the game. And I smile because he’s back in the game. And he knows that and I know that.
“Right,” I say. With no thunder cause he stole my concluding remark. Which is an important part of the game. He scored cause I set him up, which means that I scored too. We’re on the same team. And we both know that.
We sat there a few minutes. You know, relaxing, enjoying our respective goals.
“But why doesn’t everyone see this?” he almost sobbed. Because he knew what was coming.
“’Cause they turn story into an equation.” Instead of using all the dimensions of knowledge, like math, science, history, art, poetry, grammar, etc. to tell story, they change story into logic.” I stated sadly, ‘cause I knew what was coming too.
This visit was on a Friday. On Sunday we attended our respective churches. On that Sunday, my sons and daughters, ages 3 to 9, took communion.
His children, same age as mine, not only did not take communion, but are not allowed to in their church.
He knew that would happen and I knew that would happen.