1 Corinthians 11:27-34 (NRSV)
Discerning the body of Christ
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For all who eat and drink without discerning the body, eat and drink judgment against themselves. For this reason many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.
So then, my brothers and sisters, when you come together to eat, wait for one another. If you are hungry, eat at home, so that when you come together, it will not be for your condemnation. About the other things I will give instructions when I come.
Today, Paul is giving instructions to the church at Corinth regarding how to observe The Lord’s Supper in a holy way. It seems that in Corinth some people were having trouble partaking in a way that truly honored and remembered Jesus’ sacrifice.
Instead of coming to the table humble and repentant, they came greedy and selfish, eating up all the bread and drinking up all of the wine until they were drunk!
In response to this poor behavior, Paul instructed the people to eat at home and examine oneself prior to coming to the Holy Communion table.
In my tradition prior to inviting people to partake of the bread and wine of communion, we invite everyone assembled to ask God for the forgiveness of our sin.
We know that the Bible teaches us that God loves us so much that God gave Jesus to die on the cross to save us from our sin and gift us with eternal life! We know that Jesus instructed His disciples to eat bread and drink wine—as often as they came together--in remembrance of Him.
Isn’t that an awesome request? Jesus asked us to remember Him. But, what is it that we are supposed to remember?
I think Jesus wants us to remember we are loved, cherished, and protected by God’s Amazing Grace! I think Jesus wants us to remember that he died and rose again just as He promised in order to make reparation for our sin and make provision for our eternal life! I think Jesus wants us to remember that we can’t out sin, out fox, or out run the love of God which is revealed to us in Christ Jesus!
I don’t know about you, but I truly want to remember those things! As we come to the Holy Communion table to partake of the Lord’s Supper I don’t want to be thinking about how hungry or thirsty I am. I don’t want to be worrying about whether “Sally” is getting a bigger piece of bread than me. I don’t want to be musing about a fight I had with a loved one.
Instead, I want to come to the Lord’s Supper secure in God’s unconditional love and amazing grace! I want to be at peace with God and at peace with my neighbors. I want to examine myself, confess my sin, receive God’s forgiveness, remember Jesus’ death and resurrection, and then eat and drink with great joy!
It is so awesome that Jesus gave us the Holy Communion so that we can remember Him! As we think of the body and blood of Jesus—again and again—we are compelled to retell the GOOD NEWS story over and over again!
As we boldly declare, “Christ has died! Christ has risen! Christ will come again!,” our GOOD NEWS message goes out into the entire world! As we remember JESUS, we tell our family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors that “Jesus saves and He saves to the utmost!”
Now, ain’ta that good news?!!
Will you remember God love for you and Jesus’ death and resurrection on the cross this day? If so, please pray with me:
Holy One, thank you for loving me so much! Thank you for Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. Thank you for the forgiveness of my sin and the sure gift of eternal life. Please forgive me of my sin and fill me with the Holy Spirit. I want to live in the Light of Jesus, remembering his death a and resurrection until He comes again! Help me to share this GOOD NEWS story with others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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