1 Corinthians 11:17-34
17 In the following matters, I don’t praise you. Your meetings do more harm than good. 18 First, here is what people are telling me. When you come together as a church, you take sides. And in some ways I believe it. 19 Do you really think you need to take sides? You probably think God favors one side over the other! 20 So when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat. 21 As you eat, some of you go ahead and eat your own private meals. Because of this, one person stays hungry and another gets drunk. 22 Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? You are shaming those in the church who have nothing. Do you think so little of God’s church that you do this? What should I say to you? Should I praise you? Certainly not about the Lord’s Supper! 23 I passed on to you what I received from the Lord. On the night the Lord Jesus was handed over to his enemies, he took bread. 24 When he had given thanks, he broke it. He said, “This is my body. It is given for you. Every time you eat it, do it in memory of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup. He said, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Every time you drink it, do it in memory of me.” 26 You eat the bread and drink the cup. When you do this, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again. 27 Eat the bread or drink the cup of the Lord in the right way. Don’t do it in a way that isn’t worthy of him. If you do, you will be guilty. You’ll be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone should take a careful look at themselves before they eat the bread and drink from the cup. 29 Whoever eats and drinks must recognize the body of Christ. If they don’t, judgment will come upon them. 30 That is why many of you are weak and sick. That is why a number of you have died. 31 We should think more carefully about what we are doing. Then we would not be found guilty for this. 32 When the Lord judges us in this way, he corrects us. Then in the end we will not be judged along with the rest of the world. 33 My brothers and sisters, when you come together to eat, you should all eat together. 34 Anyone who is hungry should eat something at home. Then when you come together, you will not be judged. When I come, I will give you more directions.
Pigging out on communion is not really a problem we have (I have this image of someone surrounded by hundreds of tiny cups of juice). But the attitude behind that can be easy to fall into. It’s easy to start thinking of Church services like we think of other services we use: “What’s my phone plan giving me? Maybe I should change to another company.” It seems the Corinthians were thinking about the great meal they expected. But that focus on what they would get out of it was the opposite of what the Church and Communion should be.
Paul goes on to say that the Lord’s Supper is a proclamation of Christ’s death and resurrection. We don’t proclaim things to ourselves. We proclaim things to others: to give them the key to salvation; to encourage them; and to honour Christ. It can often be a good time to reflect on how blessed we are, but it’s mainly about blessing others.
Of course there are times when I have fewer blessings to offer and I need the support of the wonderful people around me. That is fine, but I need to move on from that place. And I need to be willing to receive for the blessings to work, so long as I also give what I can.
There’s a wonderful irony that when we are in a group of people looking to be blessed, the blessings are few and far between. But when we are part of a group intent on blessing, we are bathed in a sea of blessing.
So how can I bless someone today?
Written by David Cornell