Verse: 1Corinthians 11:27-32
So then, 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. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.
I just want to share a little story from my life. As a kid, I loved communion at my Baptist church. There were little cubes of Pepperidge Farm bread(no crusts), and grape juice in the little plastic cups. They were passed on these beautiful brass plates, and we would take communion on our own over the length of a song, and at the end we would all stand up in our pews, move together across the aisles, hold hands, and sing the Lord’s Prayer. At the last portion, “For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever, Amen”, we would all raise our hands, still clasped, and I found it very worshipful. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. It was a beautiful tradition. But I was young and immature.
Later, I found a deeper understanding in a simpler tradition. We would all get up and serve ourselves from a communal table, and go back to our seats(like we do now). This practice built in a time for reflection, and newly married, I was humbled when my husband would come to me during this time, and make right anything that might be standing between us. This self examination was a powerful thing, and gave a very personal addition to the tradition of taking communion. I’m sure that it looks differently from the days of the early church but I think that the spirit is the same. Still, 22 years on, my husband leads in this way, and we pray together before we take communion, and this reconciliation is so powerful. We are both humbled by the love of our Lord Jesus, and the way that love is represented in the symbols of communion. We know that it is more than a feel-good ritual, and that we are called to not only be reconciled to Christ, but to one another. Not only as husband and wife, but to the body of Christ as a whole – the church.
Community is hard, and messy, but that is what we are called to. Sharing our lives, being vulnerable and humble to go to one another when something is wrong, and make it right, is an essential practice for us as Christians. Pretending that everything is fine, is truly worthless. The real value comes in knowing and being known, and loving one another in spite of it.
Our Good and faithful God, you are so kind and full of love for us – thank you! We need your help in being open and loving with one another. Please help us in our fear, and teach us to be humble before you and with one another. Amen.
Author: Emily Costa