It is our practice here at Christ Church to welcome baptized children to the Table here with us. We have a number of reasons for this, but one passage we would point to is 1 Corinthians 10 where Paul says that all of Israel was baptized in the cloud and the sea and all of Israel ate spiritual food and spiritual drink in the wilderness. That clearly included the children, and while Paul warns the Corinthians not to fall into idolatry like old Israel, Paul says nothing about children not being baptized or partaking of spiritual food. And Paul says that what they partook of in the manna and the water from the rock was Christ.
One of the common objections to young children taking communion is the concern that Paul says all who partake must discern the Body of the Lord rightly – those who do not may eat and drink damnation on themselves. We take this warning very seriously, but in context, Paul says nothing about young children but identifies the culprits as adults who are causing divisions in the body. While part of discerning the body does mean understanding that this meal points to the death of Jesus for our sins, another very important part of discerning the body is honoring the body of Christ in those around you. And most one year-olds have a pretty good grasp of whether they are being welcomed or left out.
While we leave this decision up to the head of each household, the elders still take responsibility for who is here. This is the Table of the Lord, not anyone’s family sacrament. This is why we ask you to let one of the pastors or elders know when you would like to begin communing your child. And on the flip side, if you are having significant difficulties with one of your children and you’re wondering if they should be taking communion, bring the concern to a pastor or elder, please don’t perform household excommunications off on your own.
Lastly, remember that the Word and Sacrament go together. Just as you begin talking in English to your children before they understand all the words, but you are still communicating love and care and teaching them to understand, so too, teach your children as they partake. Talk about it outside of worship, and feel free to quietly remind them as they are eating and drinking. Lean over tell them: This means God loves us. This means Jesus died for our sins. This means we are part of His family.
So come and welcome, to Jesus Christ.