Monday, February 11, 2008

The Love Feast at Jesus' Table

I'm a little worked up about this whole topic of table and culture and manners and hospitality and all ... can you tell?

If I had a dollar for every Communion Meditation where I was led to examine my heart and see if I was eating in a worth manner, I'd be rich.

Not that it is not important to examine our hearts and repent of impure motives. Don't misunderstand me, now. But we are not worthy to take the bread and cup by what's in our hearts alone. It's whether we're living the Jesus Creed -- whether we're loving God and loving others.

Let's take a moment to read that important passage from the 11th chapter of I Corinthians:

The Lord's Supper
17In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God's approval. 20When you come together, it is not the Lord's Supper you eat, 21for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. 22Don't you have homes 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 praise you for this? Certainly not!

23For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." 25In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." 26For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

27Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. 29For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment. 32When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.

33So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for each other. 34If anyone is hungry, he should eat at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment.

I'm certainly not going to unpack that all in this wee post ... but I do hope that you will see that the Corinthians were having a problem with living the Jesus Creed -- and at Jesus' Table, no less! What happened to loving their neighbor as themselves?

Certainly this is what the Apostle Paul was speaking to when he asked them to examine themselves before they eat and drink at the covenant renewal ceremony Jesus instituted so that we would remember how much he and Papa loved us -- and that we could be healed by receiving that love in the bread and the cup as well as by sharing it with our brothers and sisters.

I say that we take our cues from the host concerning how to treat our fellow guests ... so that our table manners give off accurate physical cues concerning Papa's new society -- one of grace and inclusion and restoration and and transformation.

Turning away those Papa has invited because they don't measure up to our standards -- well that just isn't proper.

Okay, rant over!

Leaning on Papa.


Michael Kruse said...

Isn't it amazing how we just ignore verses preceding and following the "words of institution" in this passage.

Great post.

AbiSomeone said...

Amazing,indeed! Thanks for stopping by to speak a word of encouragement, Michael.