|“For all who eat and drink without discerning the body, eat and drink judgment against themselves” (1 Cor. 11:29).|
All my life I have heard those words used as a warning to Christians to make sure their lives are pure before partaking of the bread and cup at the Lord’s Supper table. Unfortunately, that’s an utterly abysmal interpretation of the text.
Paul is not referring to the Corinthians’ private morality but to their corporate practice. The way they observed the Lord’s Supper perpetuated the social and class divisions of the Greco-Roman world — the wealthy ate the best food in the private dining room while everyone else ate the leftovers in the atrium of the house.
Paul is livid with the Corinthians because they are not taking each other into account. They are practicing their faith in ways that have negative consequences for others in the church. Paul wants them to “discern the body.” He wants each person to recognize that their decisions — however acceptable they may be in the world outside the church — have repercussions for one another. The new world God is creating in Christ should be evident in the ways they relate to each other. So “discern the body,” says Paul.
|I am glad to say that the issue Paul addresses in Corinth is usually not a problem here at FCC. Our folks are incredibly inclusive and do not waste time deciding who is in the “in” group and who is in the “out” group. Yet, inclusiveness is only one aspect of discerning the body. At its heart, discerning the body means recognizing how our behavior affects one another. It means recognizing that what I do may be having a detrimental affect on our life together. |
So here are some questions to ponder. First, do you fit Sunday worship into your schedule, or do you build your schedule around Sunday worship? The first option is what our culture tells us to do, and the culture does not want us to make worship a priority. But God has done so much for us in Christ. Why would we not want to say thank you with our sisters and brothers?
Second, why are we still excluding our children from most of our worship? I know some of you think I am a broken record on this issue, but I am haunted by what we are teaching, or not teaching, our children about worship and growing in Christ.
Third, do you come to worship during the summer months? I know it’s nice outside, and there are chores to do, and summer mornings are delicious on the back porch, but did you ever stop to think how your absence in the sanctuary might be affecting others?
The way you relate to the community of faith affects the entire community. It has ripple effects in every direction. Maybe we need to discern the body.