Communion. The Lord’s Supper. The Eucharist. Mass. While it goes by many names, every Christian tradition includes a symbolic meal involving bread and wine or their equivalent substitutes. Where did this ancient tradition come from? What does it mean? Why do Christians around the world still do it? Join us for part 5 of Because as we consider why we eat the bread and drink the wine in worship.
But in the following instructions, I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. What! Do you not have houses 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 commend you in this? No, I will not.
For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when 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 also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, 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.1 Corinthians 11:17-32 (ESV)
The Lord’s Supper is an invitation to look . . .
AROUND (1 Corinthians 11:17-22)
BACK (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
– Remember what Christ did.
– Remember what we are doing.
– Look forward to what Christ will do.
WITHIN (1 Corinthians 11:27-32)
Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. – 1 Corinthians 11:28
- How do my relationships with others reflect what this meal represents?
- Where is there division, hatred, prejudice? (age, culture, race, marital status, socio-economic)
- Am I living in disunity with others, with Jesus, within myself?
- Am I living in such a way that my life reflects the Gospel?
- Am I living with an awareness that I am dependent on Jesus?
- What are the persistent sins in my life?