Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Lord's Supper

1 Cor 11:17 - 33 (NIV)
In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God's approval. When you come together, it is not the Lord's Supper you eat, for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. Don't you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? Certainly not!

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 ourselves, we would not come under judgment. When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.

So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other. If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment. And when I come I will give further directions.

A few thoughts:

  • When the early church came together, it seems it was around a meal remembering our Lord.
  • This group in Corinthians had a few faults. Some ate too much too quickly and others went hungry. Others drank too much and got drunk. They were not thinking of each other as they ate together.
  • Neither of these problems are present in the typical Lord's supper practiced today. The small morsel of bread or cracker is not enough to feed anyone, and the small sip of grape juice or wine could not get anyone drunk.
  • But are we thinking of each other? Are we recognizing the Christ's body?
  • I've always understood this passage to mean I should examine the sins I've done in the past week, but in context it may be more to do with examining how I'm presently relating to the rest of Christ's body.
Yes we come together, but in many ways we partake alone. The way I've usually practiced the Lord's supper has been in a more individual fashion. I close my eyes and say a silent prayer and partake silently when directed.

Hmm... I'm not sure what to do with these verses now. When I come together and eat with other believers I don't typically view that as the Lord's Supper. However when I take communion or the Lord's Supper at a Sunday morning gathering, I'm not usually doing much relationally with other members of the body.

5 comments:

Alan Knox said...

Jon,

I realize this is a serious subject, but please allow me a little levity. I was thinking about Paul's admonition concerning some eating too much food while others went hungry, and some drinking so much wine that they got drunk. And, I applied this to today. I pictured someone sneaking in and eating most of the little morsels of crackers, and someone else sneaking in and drinking all of the little cups of wine (I mean grape juice?) and getting drunk. It was a humorous picture to me... :)

-Alan

Jonathan said...

:) Yeah I just don't see that happening. Maybe if we changed it to Doritos and Coca-cola... but yeah I digress.

Galen said...

Something you might find interesting is the ancient document called the Didache. It didn't make it into the Bible but it describes an old form of this from the time it was written about 1900 years ago.

Jonathan said...

Thanks Galen for the comment. Yes, the Didache also supports the idea that the believers were sharing a meal:

"But after you are filled, give thanks this way..."

Michael Gormley said...

Dear Jon,

Once we become members of Christ’s family, he does not let us go hungry, but feeds us with his own body and blood through the Eucharist.

In the Old Testament, as they prepared for their journey in the wilderness, God commanded his people to sacrifice a lamb and sprinkle its blood on their doorposts, so the Angel of Death would pass by their homes. Then they ate the lamb to seal their covenant with God.

This lamb prefigured Jesus. He is the real "Lamb of God," who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29).

Through Jesus we enter into a New Covenant with God (Luke 22:20), who protects us from eternal death. God’s Old Testament people ate the Passover lamb.

Now we must eat the Lamb that is the Eucharist. Jesus said, "Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no life within you" (John 6:53).

At the Last Supper he took bread and wine and said, "Take and eat. This is my body . . . This is my blood which will be shed for you" (Mark 14:22–24).

In this way Jesus instituted the sacrament of the Eucharist, the sacrificial meal Catholics consume at each Mass.

The Catholic Church teaches that the sacrifice of Christ on the cross occurred "once for all"; it cannot be repeated (Hebrews 9:28).

Christ does not "die again" during Mass, but the very same sacrifice that occurred on Calvary is made present on the altar.

That’s why the Mass is not "another" sacrifice, but a participation in the same, once-for-all sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

Paul reminds us that the bread and the wine really become, by a miracle of God’s grace, the actual body and blood of Jesus: "Anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself" (1 Corinthians 11:27–29).

After the consecration of the bread and wine, no bread or wine remains on the altar. Only Jesus himself, under the appearance of bread and wine, remains.