The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


'Jesus for the road'

Ellie says she tucks half a communion wafer away to help her remember 'Jesus loves me'

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
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.


Brad Zerkel

Brad Zerkel

Posted at 10:55 pm (U.S. Eastern) 3/5/2008

I am in total shock that Lindsey Camp and her pastor would allow her children to take communion. It is simple, Jesus gave His body and His blood to his disciples (Mt. 26:26). According to His words a disciple is one who has been baptized and instructed in His words (Mt. 28:19). He did not commune His own disciples until after they had been taught for three years. The apostle Paul said that anyone who does not examine himself or recieves the body or blood in an unworthy mannet brings Gods judgment on himself (1 Cor. 11:27-29). Is her daughter's cute statement on carrying Jesus as a reminder of His love override scripture's commands on communion? If she wants the Lord's Supper to be reduce to a nice symbolic act maybe she should change denomination to one whose doctrine not only violates the spirit of scripture but also its letter . Shame on The Lutheran for publishing such an offense to the Lord's intent as well as His body and blood.

Brad Zerkel

Kansas City, MO



Posted at 3:10 pm (U.S. Eastern) 3/6/2008

 Whoa, Brad, lighten up!  I'm surprised by your angry response and wonder where the shame should be directed-at the eagerness of young children to receive the sacrament or the pharisaic attitude of the adults who want to restrict them? 

I've pastured for 30+ years, am nearing retirement, and once upon a time rejected the idea of communing children as you do.  Maybe age mellows... but as I've pastured here at Grace for 15 years, one of my foci has been the faith of young people and I have to tell you...  I'll take a little child's "eager, eyes wide open, frolicking up the aisle faith" over the up-tight "learned faith" of adults any day.  They are eager to learn as few adults are.  They share love more generously than the adults around them.  They have concern for the boys and girls in Africa and bring their pennies to send bees, pigs and chicks while many adults think the poor cause their own problems.  Children have as much faith as they need to receive communion in my church. 

 Pr. Dan Behnke

Grace Lutheran, Marshfield WI



Posted at 8:42 pm (U.S. Eastern) 3/13/2008

I agree that toddlers do not understand the meaning of communion and should still go to the altar but get a blessing from the pastor.  They are participating with their parents and still getting the love of God.  When a child is in 4th or 5th grade in elementary school or junior high they are able to read their bibles and get a feeling about what Jesus was saying.  Communion without instruction on the significance of it is just eating grape juice and wafers for children.  Fifth grade is soon enough to get the instruction for communion.



Posted at 8:41 am (U.S. Eastern) 3/18/2008

This article illustrates all that  is wrong in the ELCA today.  There is nothing that cannot be changed by first creating a  perception of social injustice.  Sentiment trumps doctrine.  No longer is Holy Communion for undeserved sinners.  It's an entitlement for innocent "victims".  In this case, poor infants and children.  Paul's words of warning regarding self-examination notwithstanding!  Repentence? What's that? Now we use communion to make us feel better so that won't ever have to feel any sense of guilt. The irony is that what the Lutheran church once condemned in the Roman Catholic church,  "ex opere operato", has returned!   God help us!

robert J. Timmerman

robert J. Timmerman

Posted at 11:14 am (U.S. Eastern) 3/22/2008

I was shocked about the story about "Jesus For the Road". I am a former Lutheran  and now Catholic who comes once a year for Good Friday Services.

In The Catholic Church we treat the Body of Christ (wafers) as the most holy and respected Symbol of our church. For Ellie to put a half a wafer in her pocket for a rainy day, is an abuse of Jesus.  Granted her intentions are good, but the practice is not. She should be given a pic to place the wafer in at the very least.  More Importantly she should be given another means to feel that Jesus loves her.

The theological differences between the Lutheran Church and Cathloic Church are slight, but we both agree on that Jesus is present in the wafer and the wine. 

Where is Ellie's Parent's and Pastor's head in allowing her to do this? Jesus should be treated with respect and reverence and not like pocket change.

Robert J. Timmerman

Oak Forest,IL 



Posted at 4:47 pm (U.S. Eastern) 3/31/2008

I say let her enjoy her custom. If that's her path, it's between her and Jesus. I don't think anyone, ordained or lay, has the right to interfere with that relationship. I think intent goes a long way, remember Jesus' explanation of work on the sabbath.


Chris Smith

Kennesaw, Ga.



Posted at 10:53 pm (U.S. Eastern) 4/3/2008

In our March council meeting First Communion Classes were brought up.  My two oldest, 8 and 7 year old boys, have been taking communion for at least two years now without ever attending these informative classes.  I would love more than anything to go through all the classes and have a special service dedicated to their First Communion but as I have realized...what would be the point?  A picture taking oppurtunity, nothing more.  They already know the meaning behind the bread and the wine, they know how to act and what they are suppose to do.  As a parent I took it upon myself to teach my children, why do I have to wait for a pastor to do it?  Depending on your child they may be ready at 4 to understand what communion is all about, some may not be ready for another year or so.  I believe it should be up to the parents.  As a Sunday School teacher I went over communion with Kinder. and First graders...can you believe that none besides my own son knew what the bread and wine stood for?  What good is the blessing when the children don't even understand why they are receiving it?  As parents you should take it upon yourself to explain this nourishment (I love that word being used for communion) to your children.  Don't just drag them into church and up to the altar.  Let them know what you are receiving and why.  You would be surprised with just how much your child would truly understand.  I also have a 20 month old that receives part of my bread.  I didn't wait until he understood baptism to baptize him and I am not waiting until he knows the catechism inside and out before he receives such a nourishment from the Lord.  If simply hearing the Lord's Prayer over and over again teaches a toddler to mumble along...I'm sure he'll understand that the bread and the wine are gifts from the Lord.  You don't need to drill them on it, a simple explanation now and over the years, as with everything, they learn more.

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