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1 Corinthians 11 v 23 - 34

One of the things in studying Scripture is that suddenly the reader comes to a well known verse or passage. This section is often used at the start of the time of Communion in church and it is used as a reminder that the congregation should prepare themselves properly for that occasion. I don't have a particular problem with that, it is when, by extension, that it disallows anyone who feels that they are in a compromised situation to take communion that I have an issue. I have known a few dear believers who wouldn't take the bread and wine because they felt unworthy. That is the point of taking it! If you or I felt worthy, then we would have a problem! Everyone who comes to the Communion table is a sinner, one hundred percent of us! So, strangely this passage is often taken out of context, because we can read before verses 23-30 and after it, the remaining verses in the chapter, and see quite clearly that Paul is talking about the sin of the wealthy Corinthian believers in getting to the love feast early, eating all the best food and there being nothing for the slaves and poorer people. ''Wait for each other''! Paul exclaims. ''Honour the body of Christ!'' The body of Christ is the Church and it was being damaged by the insensitive actions of some of the Corinthian fellowship. What a strange irony that the Lord's Supper, designed to unify the body under the Headship of Christ, was the cause of division and injustice! It is good then to prepare ourselves before we take Communion and to examine ourselves, but more importantly than this, to ask ourselves if by the way we take Communion do we bring division? Although I try to spend a little more time explaining why we take Communion if someone new to the church is present, it can be a confusing and alienating experience for the newcomer. I suppose for me the aim should be that, if hopefully that newcomer has been present at the Sunday service the week before we are due to have Communion, it would be good to explain things to them then. As an aside, it is interesting that the sharing of Communion was taken up immediately by the nascent Church and along with baptism was recognised as being the sacraments commanded by Jesus for all believers to experience. Some Christian denominations have added other sacraments to those two and interestingly, some sound denominations, such as the Salvation Army, have not observed those two as a response to the sometimes elevation of the sacraments to salvation-giving on their own!


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