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Not Just An Ordinary Meal

1 Corinthians 11:20-22
So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord's Supper you eat, for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. Don't you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter! (NIVUK)

The Lord’s Supper was being desecrated in Corinth. It was certainly not the solemn and formulated service which we often experience today. The church did not meet in a church building but probably in a large home (Acts 18:7-8). The church, that is the people who believed in Jesus, arranged their meetings around a meal. It appears that the food was brought by those who came; the rich bringing much and the poor bringing little.
Alas, the social divides which existed in Corinthian society also controlled relationships within the church. So, instead of all sharing so that everybody had the same amount to eat, they sat in social cliques - the poor and slaves were ignored while the rich had a feast and sometimes too much to drink. They shared bread and wine but in such a way that dishonoured the Lord Jesus, and their brothers and sisters in Christ. Their meetings were all about them, not Him.
They claimed to be remembering the Lord Jesus; but He remembered the poor and asked His disciples to distribute bread to those He came to serve, before feeding themselves. They said they were meeting in His Name, but had really come to enjoy themselves and get what they could for themselves. Their meeting was hypocritical; and Paul was not afraid to rebuke them.
What attitude do we bring to the church meeting? It may be that the songs, reading, prayers and message have been prepared by other people and many think that they just turn up and enjoy some time with their friends. What can they contribute? Some think it is loud singing and generous financial giving. But the Lord is seeking a humble, dependent, compassionate, sharing and caring heart (Psalm 51:16-17). The word we use for 'communion' is the same word which is translated contribution, communication, sharing and fellowship. So to receive communion and ignore other believers, failing to share in fellowship with them or contribute to their needs … is hypocritical. Micah 6:8 says, “… what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Those are the attitudes to bring to the church meeting. Leaders should teach it and congregations should practise it. Anything less despises the Body of Christ. Is it time to repent?

Father God. Thank You for making me Your child and welcoming me into Your family, the church. I repent of pride which seeks my own good in the church, when communion should celebrate how Jesus gave His life for others. Please help me to value each of my brothers and sisters equally, learning to serve them humbly as a disciple of Jesus Christ. In His Name. Amen.
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© Dr Paul Adams