27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (1 Co 11:27–32). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
Church Family: Family of Christ
An isolated and literal reading of this scripture leads me to wonder if Paul believed sickness came from taking communion in the wrong way or with the wrong kind of understanding. However, this passage precedes 1 Corinthians 12 where he begins his teaching and perhaps reteaching that we (the Church) are the body of Christ, having been redeemed by His blood and transformed by His Spirit. Through the whole letter he wrote to them about being a community together, being a family together in Christ. Yet some of their church traditions they had created did more for singling people out as better or worse than others rather than celebrate their life together as a family.
Jesus taught in John 15 that He was the vine and we are His branches and that we cannot survive unless we remain together in Him. Making a ritual out of the Lord's Supper that only focuses on what we get out of it individually, without observing the way it was meant to draw us together and transform us as Christ's family is like a branch trying to live on it's own without being connected to the rest of the vine. It doesn't work. That vine gets sick and eventually dies. It is not because the vine doesn't love that branch. It is because the vine refuses to stay connected to the source of life.
We face that same disconnect in our families. Families are an incredible source of strength and encouragement when they stay connected to Christ and connected together. When the focus moves away from Christ we fail to be a source of life and strength and begin to take strength away from each other. Just like those disciples at the Last Supper, we get divisive, everyone looks out for themselves, we scatter, and then the family slowly disintegrates. But there is always a way back through Christ. I believe that is why Christ told His disciples to remember Him whenever they celebrated the Lord's Supper. I think the healing of this division and bringing us back to life found in Christ may be precisely the reason we are supposed to celebrate it at all.
Reflection: How does your family celebrate togetherness? How does your family find life and strength together in Christ?
Trying to hear the music in the din of many voices.
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