Lutherans hold that there are two sacraments—baptism and the Lord’s Supper. But whereas baptism of infants has always been part of our tradition, allowing children to partake of the eucharist has not. Many Lutherans have found the change so positive they wonder why it took 500 years. Others yearn for the good old days when children waited until after confirmation for communion.
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My daughters, Gracie, 8, and Ellie, 5, both take communion—my youngest since she could eat solid food and started reaching for the bread while we knelt at the altar.
|Ellie Camp says she tucks half a communion wafer away in her pocket for during the week to help her remember “Jesus loves me.”|
At first it made me uncomfortable. I was still nervous to take it myself, believing I wasn’t worthy. But Jesus’ message that I heard each Sunday prior to the meal worked its way into my heart. I grew to need the nourishment and began to wonder about my little girl. Why should I keep tapping her hand away? She was reaching out to God’s love as much as he was reaching out to her. Who was I to stand in the way?
So I let Ellie take it and was amazed at what happened. She looked at it for a moment and then held it to her breast, hugging it before popping it in her mouth. When she developed some fine motor skills, she began breaking the wafer in half, placing half in her mouth and the other half in her pocket. When Ellie learned to talk, she explained what she was doing: “Jesus for the road.”
Now, Ellie talks about keeping the half in her pocket for sometime during the week when she might be feeling sad or having a hard time. “It helps me to remember Jesus loves me,” she explained.
I challenge anyone to say that Gracie and Ellie don’t understand the depth and breadth of the act, regardless of their age. They understand it better than their dear old ma who just keeps following in their footsteps.
I hope that participating in communion from such an early age will imbed the act of worship deeply in their hearts and minds. I want them to know fully and completely that God’s love is for them always and forever. They are just as deserving as anyone.