For the past few weeks, Jamie has been hard at work here at church studying for one of his ordination exams, one specifically dealing with the sacraments. Occasionally, when he emerges from his office, I get to hear him rehearse all the nuances of Presbyterian teaching on the topic. It has really been fascinating to hear all the debates and controversies throughout Christian history, especially over communion (Who should receive it? Who should refrain? What is it?), and the text that is always referenced in the discussion is this morning’s sermon text from 1 Corinthians 11. In light of this, many of the hymns we sing today point us towards the Lord’s table as the climax of the worship service. We are called to go up to Zion (With Joy And Gladness In My Soul—Psalm 122), where a feast is laid for us (We Will Feast In The House Of Zion). We sing about bread (Shepherd Of Souls; Come, Ye Disconsolate) and wine (At The Lamb’s High Feast We Sing). We give thanks for the blood that washes our sins (Nothing But The Blood) and rescues us from danger (Come, Thou Fount Of Every Blessing). We confess that Christ gives “His own self for heavenly food” (Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence). My prayer for this morning is that the psalms and hymns we sing would help us to meditate on the precious gift that Christ brings to us at His table, no matter how mysterious it may seem.
—Henry C. Haffner
Key Words: Factions, Received, Thanks, Remembrance, Proclaim, Examine, Disciplined
Keystone Verse: As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. 1 Corinthians 11:26
1 Corinthians 11:17-34
17 But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. 18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, 19 for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. 20 When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. 21 For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk. 22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.
23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when He was betrayed took bread, 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, “This is My body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way also He took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
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.
33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another— 34 if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home—so that when you come together it will not be for judgment. About the other things I will give directions when I come.