Some people believe children are too young to understand the sacrament of Holy Communion and should not be invited until they have been confirmed. However, if a complete understanding became a requirement, none of us could gather at the table. Children may not completely understand what is happening, but they do know when people are invited to a meal and they are excluded.
Some also believe non-baptized adults should not be invited. However, United Methodists affirm the sacraments are not only "the outward sign of an invisible and spiritual reality;" they are also a means of grace. Those who participate do so within a community of believers. Participation may be the first step toward discipleship.
The Body of Christ is composed of many traditions. The Communion table is Christ's table, not a United Methodist table. The family meal is for all.
*Article by Rev. J Richard Peck, retired member of the New York Annual Conference, was published in the March-April 2011 issue of the Interpreter. It is re-printed by person.