It has long bothered me that possibly the most central point of all the communal acts of Christian worship is essentially a mystery to most church goers. I really believe it is true that most people, are not in church to remember the immense and world changing sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, they are there for what they can get. By that I simply mean, they want to hear words of consolation from the minister, and to meet with their like minded friends each week. In today’s passage Paul talks of the divide between rich and poor in the the church in Corinth and their tendency to get drunk etc… In our own time it is not the eating and drinking of actual food and wine, but the greed we have for the ministers time, or a jolly good sing-song, or a good gossip about the fiasco at last weeks members meeting. These things are all normal and things we must all deal with but surely we must come to church together, first and foremost, to feed our eternal souls with the body and blood of our saviour Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:20-26 NLT
When you meet together, you are not really interested in the Lord’s Supper. For some of you hurry to eat your own meal without sharing with others. As a result, some go hungry while others get drunk. What? Don’t you have your own homes for eating and drinking? Or do you really want to disgrace God’s church and shame the poor? What am I supposed to say? Do you want me to praise you? Well, I certainly will not praise you for this! For I pass on to you what I received from the Lord himself. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood. Do this to remember me as often as you drink it.” For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord’s death until he comes again.
Just before sitting down to finish this, I found myself filling in the ‘Average Christian’ questionnaire we were given a few weeks ago at Bethel. I became more and more struck by the final answer I gave, so I will share it with you. It was a sentence that was left open for any ending, and my sentence reads as follows: The biggest factor in helping me grow in my faith is… the example set by numerous members of Bethel’s Congregation. Mentioning no names, one particular, bald and very proudly Welsh man, who occasionally preaches and leads the worship, has on several very moving occasions, revealed to me the true nature of this ancient and mysterious ritual of ours—the Lord’s Supper. My goal is to try to make sure that all those who have inspired me on my journey know the part they have played in strengthening my faith.
Esther 1:1-3:15, 1 Corinthians 11:17-34, Psalms 35:17-28, Proverbs 21:19-20