God’s Renewing Word of Peace and Justice
1 Corinthians 11:17-34: In today’s reading, the apostle Paul tells the Corinthians that they are dishonoring the Lord because of the way they practice the Lord’s Supper. He reminds them of Jesus’s words on the night Jesus was betrayed and exhorts them to undergo self-examination before partaking of the meal.
The Lord’s Supper
17 In the following instructions, however, I do not praise you, because your meetings for worship actually do more harm than good. 18 In the first place, I have been told that there are opposing groups in your meetings; and this I believe is partly true. (19 No doubt there must be divisions among you so that the ones who are in the right may be clearly seen.) 20 When you meet together as a group, it is not the Lord’s Supper that you eat. 21 For as you eat, you each go ahead with your own meal, so that some are hungry while others get drunk. 22 Don’t you have your own homes in which to eat and drink? Or would you rather despise the church of God and put to shame the people who are in need? What do you expect me to say to you about this? Shall I praise you? Of course I don’t!
23 For I received from the Lord the teaching that I passed on to you: that the Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took a piece of bread, 24 gave thanks to God, broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in memory of me.” 25 In the same way, after the supper he took the cup and said, “This cup is God’s new covenant, sealed with my blood. Whenever you drink it, do so in memory of me.”
26 This means that every time you eat this bread and drink from this cup you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 27 It follows that if one of you eats the Lord’s bread or drinks from his cup in a way that dishonors him, you are guilty of sin against the Lord’s body and blood. 28 So then, you should each examine yourself first, and then eat the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For if you do not recognize the meaning of the Lord’s body when you eat the bread and drink from the cup, you bring judgment on yourself as you eat and drink. 30 That is why many of you are sick and weak, and several have died. 31 If we would examine ourselves first, we would not come under God’s judgment. 32 But we are judged and punished by the Lord, so that we shall not be condemned together with the world.
33 So then, my friends, when you gather together to eat the Lord’s Supper, wait for one another. 34 And if any of you are hungry, you should eat at home, so that you will not come under God’s judgment as you meet together. As for the other matters, I will settle them when I come.
Today’s Key Verse: 1 Corinthians 11:28
So then, you should each examine yourself first, and then eat the bread and drink from the cup.
What prompted Paul to write the Corinthian church with these instructions? Why does Paul call for self-examination (verse 28)? In your faith tradition, how do you prepare to receive the Lord’s Supper? Verses 23-25 are often referred to as the “Words of Institution.” What do these words mean to you? Many Christian faith traditions observe the first Sunday in October as World Communion Sunday. How does celebrating the Lord’s Supper demonstrate Christian unity?
Lord Jesus, on the night you were betrayed you offered your body, broken for us, and you instituted God’s new covenant sealed with your own precious blood. When I partake of this holy meal, may I do so in a way that honors you. Amen.
Exodus 23:1-13: Laws about justice and fairness are outlined.