1 Corinthians 11:17-34 – The Lord’s Supper

Read 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

Jesus' Last Supper

There are so many ways to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. Have you ever done so in a home or in a park? I know my husband, as a pastor, has been doing in-home communion visits for all of his ministry career. Those moments were often treasured by congregants who could no longer make it physically to church. My own father is now one of those who looks forward to his monthly visit from a couple of church friends now that he’s in a care facility.

What did you think of Paul’s take on it? He seems to add a dimension that many people may not reflect on regularly. I don’t think I’m the only one grew up not knowing about the part of being “rightly prepared to receive this sacrament” (as in Luther’s Small Catechism). It makes a lot of sense.

Needing to take a pause before a special event just makes sense. Each time we remember Jesus during a Last Supper celebration should be a special time. We are remembering Jesus, something he directly told us to do. Shouldn’t we want to come into his presence as clean and open as possible?

Do you have any “rituals” you go through to help you “get ready” to receive communion? I know I prefer to have a quiet time of reflection,  I like to picture Jesus being in the same room with me, as I’m ready to hear his promise of forgiveness and take him in to my body once again. Sometimes even singing can help get my mind in alignment with my spirit.

“For if you eat the bread or drink the cup without honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God’s judgment upon yourself.” The whole issue of “honoring” other believers is a little confusing. What does Paul mean exactly? Would it help to know that in the Greek, this verse just says, “the body” leaving the question, “Is Paul referring to Jesus’ body or the church?” (Yes, I had some help from David with his insights from Greek text!)

We get some context, which is helpful, when reading Paul’s version of the Lord’s Supper. Paul was surprised by the divisions that had already started occurring in the new church. Yet, he turned that around quickly by reminding us of a positive slant – the fact “you who have God’s approval will be recognized!”

The body of Christ is to be built up, not torn down. Divisions tear down. We need to love those in our midst who may not yet have God’s approval. Paul would say it’s our responsibility to help them by showing them good conduct and how life is good when you have “God’s approval.”

An even bigger fear is to take the meal “unworthily” and be directly “sinning against the body and blood of the Lord.” It would seem our attitude is important so that our conduct honors God. How would you describe your attitude about the Lord’s Supper? In what ways could you make better preparations?

praying hands looking up

Let’s pray …
Lord Jesus, thank you for commanding us to remember the sacrifice you made for us by honoring your body and blood. I believe that you gave yourself for me and the remission of my sins. Help me to better prepare to receive the sacrament, encountering you in a more real way. Forgive me for the times I have just gone through the motions. I long to do better. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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