Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The "Union" in Communion

So this blog is found at lilfytr.blogspot.com. As such it is to be a blog focused on "living in love" with the result that you would "find your true reward." For some reason though, throughout the years of keeping up (mostly not well) with this blog, I have lost sight of that purpose to the error of "let me fill you in on what's new in my life and maybe tack a verse or two on the end." Not saying there's anything wrong with that once in a while, but when I'm only posting once in a while, it can be problematic.

I'll fill you in on a greater breakdown of Live In Love Find Your True Reward next time, but today, I need to close out a chapter, and transition into the future point of this blog.

So I talked last time about how God had started convicting me in many ways about my bitterness towards Sarah (the fictional name of my most recent girlfriend [to protect her privacy and avoid the term 'ex']). At church yesterday morning I was urged in my gut to apologize to her. I didn't really want to, so I didn't take the first opportunity that came my way. After the sermon and during closing worship I felt led to take communion (since its available for individuals/groups who want it every week), but then was convicted by a passage in 1 Corinthians that is normally taken very dangerously out of context.

First Corinthians 11:27-29 comes in the midst of a section on church unity. Chapter 11, verses 17-19 explain the lack of unity that was going on. It involved the Lord's Supper. It involved people promoting themselves and devaluing others at the Lord's table. Paul concludes the problem by stating the goal: "For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes" (11:26). The Lord's death was the most selfless act of love to ever occur. That is Paul's point. 

So when verses 27-29 roll around, what is to be expected? Well, let me copy it here: "Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy way will be guilty of sin against the body and blood of the Lord. So a man should examine himself; in this way he should eat the bread and drink from the cup. For whoever eats and drinks without recognizing the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself."

Is Paul now saying, "Make yourself right with God before partaking of communion"? Is he saying, "You'll be judged if you take communion without confessing your private sin last night to God first"? Not at all. It doesn't fit the context. He's speaking of the body of Christ, the church. He's saying, "If you have a problem with someone in the church, let go of that bitterness, make amends with him/her, and then come take communion." The fact that the phrase "without recognizing the body" in verse 29 has a textual variant that reads, "Not discerning the Lord's body," helps prove the point, since most variants entered into the text as a way of explaining the original meaning. So Paul wants communion to be a visible picture of the church's unity. If there's hostility between members it would be a feigned image of unity. This is why Paul wants them to make things right before taking communion.

So I refrained from the communion table yesterday. As soon as service ended, I approached Sarah and asked for her forgiveness for the bitterness and anger that had built up inside of me over the previous few weeks. She forgave me, because her motto is Victorious Grace, and she exemplifies it better than anyone I know. I'm glad to know that hole is patched up in my local church's unity.

Soli Deo Gloria

1 comment:

  1. Love ur posts brother. Always so encouraging. Thanks for always being very honest and transparent with ur blog. It helps me with my growth in examination within myself. Blessed to call u brother and may God keep leading u to post here.