Lutheran churches today have a variety of practices concerning when children can receive communion. I’ve seen everything from toddlers (those who can stick food in their mouths) all the way to the 5th grade. Some congregations don’t have a set age when someone can receive communion and leave it up to the parents to discern when their child can receive.
There are a variety of levels of celebration which accompany first communion. I’ve seen it not be noted at all, being mentioned in the bulletin, to making a really big deal of it. It seems that that the ELCA also recognizes this in its document Principles for Worship. Principle 37 says, “Admission to the Sacrament is by invitation of the Lord, presented through the church to those who are baptized.” Principle 38 says, “Common mission among the congregations of this church depends on mutual respect for varied practice in many areas of church life including the ages of first Communion.” So in these two principles we have a common belief that the person should be baptized (I recognize this is not the case for some churches) and also that we respect the traditions of individual churches.
My question to you is this: When does your church practice first communion and why? What is your theological rational for doing this? What scripture and confessional documents do you use to support your view? In short, why do you do what you do?
(I am starting a series on first communion mainly to work out what I think. I am not interested in this series in having the communion without baptism conversation)