Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Mouthful

Something about being so stressed causes me to be more introspective. I've learned a lot in this time, and when I have time to sit back and think about it all (maybe in 10 months or so) I believe I will have learned a lot more. Today, something really struck me in New Testament Theology. We were discussing the topic of the Lord's Supper. In Pentecostal circles (of which I and my University are a part) and likely in other traditions, there is a fear that if anyone feels unworthy to take communion (Lord's Supper, Eucharist, whatever) then they should refuse it and "let the plate pass them by". However, this seems to be a contradiction to the pattern that Christ gave.

The concept comes from 1 Corinthians 11:27, 29, "Therefore, 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...For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself." Or the King James Version says, "For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself". Harsh words eh?

But when one pulls these verses out of their story, they lose the whole idea of the passage. The rich Corinthians were having feasts and getting fat and drunk while keeping those that were poor out of the feast. As part of the feast, they were conducting communion, but only for those who could afford it. They forgot that Jesus frequently ate with those who were undeserving of his presence. This is eating and drinking in an "unworthy manner".

So, if you called your brother a punk before service, or just feel a tinge of guilt before church, then this verse doesn't necessarily apply to you. If you are in rebellion to God, then taking part in communion is probably not wise. In short, don't let communion pass you by just because you feel bad. In fact, communion may be just what you need.

A great example of this is in Mark 14. In the midst of Judas' betrayal, Peter's denial and the perceived fall of Christ as a political messiah, Jesus has a meal with his disciples. In this meal he offers his blood and body to them and commits his life to them. Certainly they were unworthy of him, but in that moment of despair he offered himself.

Likewise, In my moment of despair, guilt, stress, anxiety, and hopelessness, Christ offers himself to me.

2 comments:

  1. Kimberly8:28 PM

    I'm glad to see that in your stress you can still look to God. Last semester I just about drove Jared nuts. After talking to him about it alot I realized that my stress was in my hands (to a certain extent) At least my outlook on the situation. This semester when I think things are rough, I talk to God...somehow it helps....hopefully he offers you the same consolation! Good luck! Hope it all works out...

    ReplyDelete
  2. I just reread this post a year later. Wow, I'm glad I graduated.

    Now I get to plan the success or demise of over 100 little ones every night. Maybe since school *is* my job, it's a little easier.

    ReplyDelete

Please keep all comments civil, and avoid irrelevant advertising.

Posts on specific topics:
Politics--Bible--College--Teaching