This is part 5 in our 5 part series for families to do Bible study at home to prepare for 1st Communion. Before reading this:
- Please check out the explanation on Week 1 (True Vine)
- Family Bible Study: Week 2 (Found Sheep & Found Coin)
- Family Bible Study: Week 3 (Forgiving Father)
- Family Bible Study: Week 4 (Centurion’s Prayer)
Prepare your bodies and hearts to listen to God’s Word
- Find a comfortable position where you can open up the Bible, write on your paper, and discuss together without your limbs falling asleep.
- Take a deep breath. Remember that God is always with us. We just forget sometimes! Remembering God’s presence with us is prayer.
- Light the candle. When we do this in class, we usually say: “Jesus is the light of the world.”
- If you don’t have a candle to mark the beginning of this time, then make the sign of the cross and say, “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen!”
Find the book, chapter & verse
Our passage for this week: Matthew 26:26-30
Pre-reading: Make connections
A very short introduction helps kids make connections as they read, and focus as they listen.
We are even closer to the special day when you will celebrate the Supper of the Lamb! In our last study, we considered how we can respond to this invitation. Like the Good Shepherd, God has called you by name to this meal.
Today we will think more about this Great Feast, and remember the Last Supper that Jesus shared with His disciples. We remember this meal every time we receive Holy Communion.
There is a point when the Priest says these words of Jesus:
“Take and eat, this is my body,”
“This is the blood of my covenant.”Matthew 26
Reflect on the meaning of these words: “What is the Covenant? Who is called to this Supper? How should we respond to this invitation?”
The kids don’t need to provide an answer yet (though they can). Count slowly to 10 before moving on. This sets up our next section: “Let’s listen to how Jesus celebrated this meal with His disciples.”
Read the Bible out loud
Once we find our starting spot, an adult can read the whole thing out loud once without stopping. Kids who are fluent readers can also volunteer to do this.
Remember: Don’t worry at this point about pronunciation or word spelling. Don’t stop or comment on the reading at this point. If the reader makes a mistake or loses their place, that’s okay! Just pick up where you left off and keep reading! It’s not school, and you’re not being graded.
After you read, keep the Bible open. Allow some silence (unless your child is very talkative!). If the child already wants to talk through things they heard, just follow their conversation.
You may want to blow out the candle, or you can do this at the end of the discussion if it helps focus the conversation. (Definitely blow it out if it becomes a distraction!)
Count to 10 slowly. If silence remains, or the conversation wanders, ask some questions.
The point of this discussion is to think about how we respond to the invitation to the Supper of the Lamb. Re-read phrases or verses as you discuss to see if the Bible provides the answer:
- What word or words did you hear a lot in this Bible reading? Are there any words you didn’t know yet? What does the word “Covenant” mean?
- How do you think the disciples felt celebrating this special meal with Jesus for the first time? How do you think they felt celebrating after Jesus’ death and Resurrection?
- We say a version of these words in Mass. When you receive Holy Communion, the minister says, “The Body of Christ,” and “The Blood of Christ.” How do we respond with our words? With our bodies? With our hearts?
- How do we feel about being invited to the Supper of the Lamb in Holy Communion?
Count to 10 s l o w l y after each question or comment! Give your kid time to think!
We have some talkers in our group, who won’t even wait until the end of the reading to have questions and comments. That’s fine! Also many kids are quiet, and absorb from listening to others. Silence is okay!
Don’t fill the silence with your words too quickly. If we adults talk first or too much, that prevents kids from thinking their own thoughts and making their own connections. Remember: the point of this Bible study is for kids to start reading the Bible for themselves!
They also don’t need to perform. They can doodle or wiggle. It’s okay if they just listen, or their response isn’t that deep. If they ask a question, then feel free to share your thoughts! Draw them into a conversation. But sometimes seeds need time to grow roots after they’ve been planted.
If you’ve asked several questions with long pauses, re-read some parts of the text, and the conversation still isn’t taking off, try the next section…
Response & extensions
Depending on where the conversation takes you, here are some useful additional ideas.
These activities are completely optional, but are just some helpful suggestions to engage our less-talkative kids.
Remember: the main idea is that Jesus invites us to the Supper of the Lamb. How do we respond? There are many right answers here about how we feel and how we can love God in some small way in return for God’s love for us.
- Grab that paper and pen/markers and ask your child to draw what they hear.
- For more visual and tactile kids, you might look at some paintings or statues of the Last Supper. Perhaps you have sacred art of this moment in your home that you would like to share?
- For a tactile activity, you can also have kids work with their own Last Supper figures. Personally, I keep a bunch of unpainted wooden people around the house and let the kids reuse them for a variety of Bible stories. You can also paint clothespins and/or use scraps of fabric for clothing.
- Here is the Last Supper set in our Level I atrium that the kids worked with when they were 3-6 years old:
- Read the footnotes: At the beginning, we said to read the passage once out loud while skipping the footnotes. But there’s lots of interesting background information there that can help our understanding of the Bible.
End in prayer
Before the conversation devolves into a power struggle or eye-rolling boredom (if you catch it in time), remember to end in prayer. You can end by blowing out the candle, or making the sign of the cross.
Ask your child if they have a prayer they would like to say. If not, you could suggest repeating the Centurion’s prayer together. Or simply, “Jesus is the light of the world.”
In class, we often end our prayer time with a song. This passage also ends with the disciples singing hymns and going out to the Mount of Olives. See if your child has suggestions. It would be appropriate to sing “Eat this Bread” which is a common hymn we use in Mass during the Eucharist: