A Communion Meditation
Terry J. Hallock
1 Corinthians 11:17-32
November 7, 1999
A word of explanation would be helpful here. Paul is writing to the body of Christ in Corinth where it was the tradition, as it was throughout the first century church, to celebrate the Lord's Supper as exactly that -- a supper. When the early church shared communion it was quite literally a potluck dinner. Paul's spiritual complaint with the brothers and sisters in Corinth was that they were more concerned about eating the meal than receiving the message. They were sinning against the body and blood of Jesus by taking a sacred, holy event and turning it into an ugly food fight.
We no longer observe the Lord's Supper as a full meal, but the issue with us is exactly the same as it was with the Corinthians. Are we simply eating the meal or are we getting the message? Does our attitude express our gratitude or do we, like the Corinthians, trash and cheapen this meal because we've forgotten what it means and who it is about?
Paul continues. For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we judged oursel ...
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