Yesterday we had our monthly celebration of Communion at First Presbyterian. Then I turned to our scripture for today and fell deeply into the mystery of our 1 Corinthians passage. “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of one bread.”
Paul refers to the mystical union of the Lord’s Supper. Here Paul develops the image of the Lord’s Supper as the church as one body. It is an event shared with Christ and with other believers.
It also becomes a way to separate oneself from the world’s struggles and enter into a community of faith – “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons.” For Paul, these demons are the gods of the pagan idols.
For us, our “gods” become the secular world and its pull. Money, power, ego, and greed are our modern day demons. To see the table as a radical departure from the world, and an entrance into an agape feast of nourishment and oneness is a radical concept.
Unfortunately, many churches have almost entirely lost the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, doing it once a year or once a quarter in hopes that by not doing it much, it will be “more special”. To me this makes no sense. Perhaps we should only sing hymns or have someone preach once a year so that it can still be “special”. Perhaps I should only tell my spouse “I love you” once a year so it can truly be special. Or not! There is something about regular nourishment that fits in with Jesus’ ministry.
Frankly, sharing in the Body and Blood of Christ only once a year, to me, is the devil at work, literally starving the Body of Christ.
For Paul and the early church, much of Christianity focused on feeding and nourishment, on togetherness and building each other up in the body of Christ. This occurred as they met in homes and ate together. The mystical bond of the table was not something they did once a year, but something they encountered daily.
We need to reclaim this! We follow a God who came to earth and fed 1,000s, only to end his earthly ministry with another meal, even in the midst of betrayal.
Eating is an essential link to the Christian community. Glory be!! Those of you that know me, know I love to eat. And I love table fellowship.
Talk about Good News!! OK, let’s eat! (Can you imagine better words?)