Worthy Partaking – thoughts before the Lord’s Table

“Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.  But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup.  For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. 30 For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. 31 For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.
33 Therefore, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another” (1st Corinthians 11:27-33).

            Communion reminds us of our place in the covenant community, our place in the Church.  We are one individual, but we are a member of the body, a stone in the building.  Our individual relation to God is important (we go to heaven and hell by ones), but our relation to the body is intertwined with that.  In this sacrament, we are reminded of that.  We get bread, but from one loaf.  We get wine, but it’s the same wine.  We get one body of Christ because we are one body; one blood because we are made kin in Christ.

            So, partaking of communion in a “worthy manner” means understanding our place in the body; being at peace and in unity with our brothers and sisters; and partaking of the body with the body in unity and peace with the body.  In other words, communion is such a corporate act, that reducing it to a time of personal, individualized introspection couldn’t be a more unworthy manner in which to take it! 

            Note what Paul says in verses 33-34.  Do you want to be sure you partake in a worthy manner?  Then eat it together with the rest of the body and don’t exclude anyone.  Don’t leave anyone behind.  Love one another, maintain and pursue peace with one another; that’s how we partake in a worthy manner. 

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