|photo by Dorthea Lang|
Every time I serve communion I read Paul's warning, “...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.” (1 Corinthians 11:27)
This verse and the call to self-examination that follows are used as opportunities to recommit ourselves to the Christian life; to confess our sins to the Lord and be refreshed and renewed in our faith. On the other hand, the context of the passage indicates more.
Paul opens this passage by rebuking the Corinthians for the careless attitude they displayed in regards to the Lord's Supper. The practice in that day was to gather for a communal meal but, rather than share, some overindulged while others went hungry. (1 Corinthians 11:21)
Paul explains that their error was in failing to take the Body of Christ into account. (1 Corinthians 11:29) In other words, they were ignoring the poor in their midst. This error interfered with their ability to worship and disrupted the unity of the Corinthian church.
We are reminded by this passage to remember the poor among us. Marv Knox, editor of the Baptist Standard, recently asked, “If Baptists are such a big deal in Texas, why are we so behind other states in compassion?” (my paraphrase of his question).
Texas is leading the US in hunger and lack of access to health care. How can that be? Didn't Jesus say he came to proclaim good news to the poor?
As followers of Jesus Christ we must be mindful of the poor in our midst. When we gather to worship, let us celebrate a week of being the hands and feet of Jesus.
“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least
of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”