Olive Tree Children Remember Passover During Communion
"I liked the foot washing," said 7-year-old Patrick Dover, when he was asked what he liked best about their reenactment of Jesus' last supper. Thirty-six members and friends of The Olive Tree Ministry Center in Twin Falls, Idaho, met on Friday evening of Easter weekend to celebrate communion and remember the Passover in a somewhat unorthodox manner. Their goal was to present a little taste of what happened that night in the upper room. There wasn't a large dinner, just light fare, with some people sitting at low tables on the floor. We also made fresh matza bread from an authentic Jewish recipe.
In researching the event, the group found that Passover is centered on the children. Modern-day Jewish children as well as their ancestors play an important part in the Passover celebration as they act out their forefathers' escape from Egypt with short skits and readings. Even the smallest child who is able to talk has a part. That night, the members dressed up in costumes of the era, and acted out the story as it was read.
This was especially meaningful to The Olive Tree members because their first ministry is to children. More than 50 percent of those attending are children, many of whom have no other church home and are invited by friends and neighbors.
The Olive Tree encourages the children to fully participate in their celebration of communion. "As Adventists, we say we have open communion. So, if that is true, how can we possibly exclude the children?" said Dwayne Kluchesky, pastor. During the foot washing, adults assisted one or two children. Kluchesky led the service as the mentors spoke quietly to the children, teaching them the significance of what they were doing. "It is very moving to have an 8-year-old wash your feet," commented one attendee.
The Olive Tree believes that the children are not the future of the church, they are the church. There can be no greater target for evangelism.