Remember and Honor
Lord, fix my heart on You. All else changes, but You are the same yesterday, today, and forever.
1 CORINTHIANS 11:17-34
Consider: Feed on Christ "by faith with thanksgiving" (Book of Common Prayer). Reflect on what that means for you and your experience of receiving Communion.
For most Christians, one of the most central and important parts of worship is the celebration of Communion. In this, as in so much, the Corinthians had gotten it wrong. By their abuse of the Lord's Supper, they were failing to recognize the one they were remembering and failing to honor all within the community in that remembrance (22).
It is helpful to remember that the celebration of the Lord's Supper was, at this point, part of a full meal and took place in the private homes of the more wealthy members. By offering the other well-to-do members a sumptuous meal (with wine) and the less well-to-do less sumptuous food, the Corinthian church was reinforcing the social divisions in society. The remembrance of the Last Supper had become a place where class distinctions were being underlined and the poor of the community were being abused.
Paul issues a corrective (23-26) and a stern warning (27-34). The corrective is to recall the events of the Last Supper (Luke 22:17-20) as a reminder of Jesus' ultimate self-giving (cf. Mark 10:45). The warning requires the need for self-examination and a recognition of the body of Christ, which has a two-fold meaning: the actual "body" of Christ and the "body of Christ" as the church. Paul warns them of the consequences of failing to recognize Christ's body and of continuing to treat the poorer members of the community with contempt.
For the most part, Christians have separated the celebration of Communion from a communal meal, and so this particular abuse might be considered a problem no longer. But is it? Are we, especially in affluent societies, still prone to humiliate less-affluent brothers and sisters through our attitudes? Do we favor the rich rather than the poor within our communities (Jas. 2:1-7)? We need to examine ourselves, lest the problems of the Corinthian church become ours (30,31).
Do you need to heed this warning?
Lord, I am reminded that the ground at the foot of the Cross is level. I always need to see others as You see them.
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