1 Corinthians 10:14-17, 11:27-32 Therefore, my dear friends, flee from the worship of idols. I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a sharing in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For all who eat and drink without discerning the body, eat and drink judgement against themselves. For this reason many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.
Today we experience the profundity of Maundy Thursday, commemorating the Last Supper of Christ with his apostles. 1 Corinthians 10 helps us understand our own role in the Eucharist as Christ’s people: we participate in the body and blood of Christ. This means that we remember the slain body of Christ for our sins, yet we simultaneously share in the benefits of Christ’s crucifixion as we participate in this holy meal.
The symbolism of the bread we share goes further: although we represent a multiplicity of viewpoints, cultures, and theologies, we become one through the Eucharistic meal we share at God’s table. By partaking of one bread, we are united with the body of Christ – both the physical, sacrificed body of Christ and the metaphorical body of Christ: his church, our fellow worshippers.
If we read on to Chapter 11, however, we find that our own participation in the Eucharistic meal must be preceded by the reality of fellowship with Christ and his followers. We are held accountable for our own preparation before the Lord’s table. We are to examine ourselves – not, let us notice, others in the next pew – to determine our worthiness to partake of the Eucharistic meal. Through this look into our selves, we discern the meaning of the elements of bread and wine and examine our own spiritual health.
The rich imagery of the Maundy Thursday service helps us absorb the significance of this passage. The altar is stripped, reminding us of Christ’s impending death. We wash one another’s feet, reminding us of Christ’s love and his commandment to imitate his humble acts of service. We participate in the Eucharistic meal, with Christ’s death and resurrection heavy on our hearts.
Almighty God, help us to examine our own lives that we may be worthy of coming to your table. Remind us of the significance of the gifts of Christ’s body and blood and the spiritual benefits we have gained through his death and resurrection. We thank you for the gift of your son; grant us the humility to serve others in his name. Amen.
Kristin Hanson C ‘12