Dear St. Michael’s Families,
Do this in the remembrance of me. Jesus said these glorious words as He sat with His disciples during the Last Supper. This dinner began just as any other Passover they had shared together over the last three years of Jesus’ life. But Jesus chose this time of remembrance to show them that He was the true Messiah, who came to fulfill the promise of the lamb’s blood. It is no coincidence that one of the names for Jesus is the Lamb of God…
This is how each First Communion Mini Retreat begins. Each parent and child is given a packet to walk through together. This packet is designed to carve out a special time for each family to explore what it really means to be welcomed at God’s table. Let’s take a walk together inside this packet and through the class to see what we find.
In the beginning God created everything, including human beings. He not only created us, but He gave us His greatest gift, Himself. Adam and Eve knew God very well, they were best friends. He often walked through the garden to visit them. Can you imagine what it must have been like to be best friends with our creator? What do you think you would ask God if you were his best friend…?
We start at the beginning of sin to find where our need for a Savior started. God knew long before He made the earth that He would give up everything to be with us. He after all was our creator and God loves each of one of His creations.
Years later God used a man named Abraham to begin a group of His chosen people. God told Abraham that He would make a covenant (an unbreakable promise) with him. By making this covenant God not only promised to be with Abraham, he also said that his family will outnumber the stars in the sky. Have you ever tried to count the stars in sky? How many do you think there are _____________? So Abraham agreed to this covenant and moved his family to the land that God showed him called the Promised Land.
God made a covenant with Abraham knowing that His only Son would one day come from this family. Abraham’s family grew and grew and soon they were a large group of people. That made others very jealous and they turned them into slaves.
God does not like His people to be slaves, so He sent Moses to set them free. Through Moses, God brought 10 plagues on to Egypt to prove to the Pharaoh that he was not in control. The final plague was the plague of death. On the night that this plague went through Egypt the people of God had a feast; they call it their Passover celebration, because the plague passed over them and did not harm them. How do you think this plague missed God’s people? Take a minute to share your thoughts with your family…
At this point we gathered together as a group to talk about what really happened during the Passover in Egypt and why it was important. We learned that God sent the Angel of death and it passed over all the houses that were marked with the lamb’s blood. Then each child got the chance to come up and paint our door (yes a real door) to prepare for our Passover.
After the Passover, God’s people were freed from slavery, but they ended up falling back into sin. This made God very sad. God loves His people and wants them to follow Him, not the world. Seeing that Abraham’s people could not keep God’s covenant, God decided that He needed to come and save us from sin Himself. God made a promise to His people that He would send a Savior…
Four hundred years before Jesus came God told His people that a Savior would come for them. When Jesus came most of the Jewish people (God’s people) did not believe that He was the Messiah. So they turned from Him.
Jesus spent the last three years of His life bringing the message that He was the Messiah (son of God) to the world. Many leaders of the Jews did not believe Him, because they were looking for a Messiah who would destroy their enemies. Jesus brought the message of love and forgiveness to all. This was not the leader the Jews were looking for, so they hatched a plan. All the Jewish people were required to come to the town of Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover Feast each year, so Jesus and His disciples came too. On the night of the Passover feast Jesus sat with this friends at the Passover table together…
At this point all the children were asked to come up and join us at our own Last Supper table. Here we talked about what happened that night, what Jesus meant by breaking the bread and wine turning into blood. We talked about the fellowship Jesus had with this disciples. We learned what the Last Supper would have really been like if we were there ourselves.
Jesus did this so when He was gone they could do this act and remember Him. This is the point where at the end of the meal Jesus states, “Do this in remembrance of me” Luke 22:19. What do you think about when you hear this statement: Do this in the remembrance of me…?
Do not forget what I have done for you is what Jesus said. The disciples did not fully understand what Jesus meant by do this in remembrance of me until after He was killed. They thought that Jesus would always be there to guide them, and they were right. Jesus would always be there.
Jesus was arrested while in the garden of Gethsemane and taken away to be crucified. On Friday, the day before the Sabbath (as the Jewish people celebrated God on Saturday), Jesus died so that we could be saved. What do you think about Jesus dying so you could be free? On the third day (Sunday) Jesus rose from the grave (defeating death) and lived again…
He defeated death to come back for you. What does that mean for us today?
At St. Michael’s your parent’s faith plays a big role in your baptism. Did you know that?
We talked about each child’s Baptism and what it meant to be baptized into this church and into this faith. We talked about the commitment that their parents took to bring them to baptism.
Jesus died for us, rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven (please take a moment to ask your parents what ascended means). He loved us so much that He wants us to believe in Him with our whole hearts…
Now we come to the section on our commitment to Christ. Here we as a family group would talk about where we are in our faith and either come to Christ for the first time or reaffirm our faith in Him. This is a special time for each family member to talk about each others personal faith.
“And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit” Ephesians 1:13…
Following this we moved into the church. Here each child got to walk through what St. Michael’s does on Sunday mornings when it comes to the Eucharist. Father Al Zadig took time out of his Saturday to spend this special time with the children and their families. This was a real moving time for everyone and a great ending to our retreat.
We hope to see you all next year when it is your turn to explore what it means to partake in your first communion.
Italics from First Communion Family Packet