1 Corinthians 11 v 17 - 22

The commitment to have regular Agape meals was laudable in the early Church. It would have been a 'bring and share' meal with an element of ritual in it-the elements of Communion would have been shared, but within a full meal. It would have been a time of fellowship and also equality, as the slaves and those poverty-stricken would have been able to eat the same as those wealthy and from nobility. We can read of this principle in Acts 2 v 46: 'They worshipped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord's Supper and shared their meals with great joy and generosity'

The believers in Corinth were continuing this beautiful tradition, but it was being abused. Those from the leisured classes could turn up early, met each other and eat from each other's rich fare, whilst particularly the slaves would always be working until late in the evening and appear to discover that most of the food had already been eaten! From an outsiders point of view, it was clearly unjust and not in keeping with the early Church commitment to 'all one in Christ Jesus'. However, the Corinthian Christians were proud of what they were doing! The early Church was the one place in all the ancient world where the barriers of class and wealth were down, but this fellowship could not genuinely call itself by that name anymore as they were not regarding each other as equals! The beauty of the Agape meal had become a travesty!

The true Christian cannot bear to have too much while others have too little; he or she find their greatest privilege not in jealously guarding what they have, but in giving it away. Think of ways in which you can benefit others by passing on the bounty which God has poured out upon you.

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