Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A Corinthian Conundrum???

"When you come together, it is not the Lord's Supper you eat, for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk."--one of many of the criticisms from the apostle Paul to the church at Corinth (can't those people get anything right???)

However, I must ask--could this Corinthian conundrum possibly prove to be a present-day predicament at Pleasant Valley???

Okay...maybe I'm exaggerating...a little... ;)

Nevertheless...this verse came to mind as the events unfolded in my fellowship Sunday morning, and I was almost unable to partake of the blood of the covenant.

I was in the second of the two worship services that my congregation offers on Sunday morning, which, surprisingly, is the smaller crowd. Perhaps this was part of the problem. And I was sitting at the end of a pew, because I gotta have my aisle seat. Perhaps that was also part of the problem...because my sitting on the aisle, and my neighbors' sitting on their aisle left a grand canyon of empty pew space in between us. Such was also the case on the row directly in front of me (though not to such an extreme extent.)

Round one went seemingly well. The Guy on my aisle served the bread to the people in front of me, and the Other Guy at the other end of the pew served the bread to those across their grand canyon pew. So the folks in front of me simply returned their tray to our Guy; he, in turn, served me, and I had my fill of the body.

Round two did not progress as smoothly. The folks in front of me decided to reach out across their chasm (which, as mentioned, was slightly smaller than mine) and go ahead and pass the blood of Christ on down to those brethren.

So there stands my Guy next to me, with not a single tray to serve me. I look down to my right, where Other Guy is in the process of serving the three trays that got passed his way...poor Other Guy had an armful, and my Guy had none.

Throughout the years that I've been a Christian, there have, undoubtedly, been situations in which I did not partake of communion on a particular week. There have also actually been at least one or two times that I partook twice in one Sunday. (Hey, I wonder if any of the times that I took it twice can help make up for a couple that I've missed??? But I digress...) However, I have NEVER been in a situation where I was offered one and not the other! I began to get a little nervous...the little beads of sweat started to form...pulse started racing...certain familiar phrases started rushing through my head like "In remembrance of Me," "As often as you do this," and "Proclaim the Lord's death," not to mention that one above about some being left with nothing! This was serious business! The body without the blood??? Is that scriptural?!?!?

Fortunately, my Guy noticed and did not forget about me. Three rows later (when all the trays were back his way), I was served and was able to partake of the blood. But what if he had forgotten? Would I have been immediately struck down, Sapphira-style, for participating in the body without the blood? Would my soul have really been in jeopardy??? Somehow, I doubt it. Nevertheless, I'm extremely grateful that I was served both!

After all...

What good is the body without His blood???


vic said...

I understand the beads of sweat and the wondering “is this scriptural?” even if you really and truly knew it would be ok—there is still the momentary panic of not doing things the RIGHT WAY. A sad legacy we have given you—though I am sure you do not blame those of us who have come before you—that this beautiful celebratory remembrance can be so full of HOW we do it rather than WHY we do it.

mmlace said...

Ah, vic, you older people (and please don't be offended, I use the term 'older' loosely because I have no idea who you are or how old you are) should not be so hard on yourselves. I don't consider myself to be a victim of that legacy, basically, because I have not really inherited it. I don't subscribe to that line of thinking, worrying about the "how" and doing things the "one and only right way."

I must confess that there really were no beads of sweat; no rapid pulse; no real momentary panic. Rather, this post was written with the tiniest hint of sarcasm, recognizing the humor in the situation and those thoughts...and the fact that someone out there might actually have those thoughts, were this to happen to them.

I agree with you 100% on focusing on the "why"...thus the conclusion to this post. His blood alone is what saves us, and we, as His body, are no good without Him.

vic said...

Good for you,mmlace. Those are encouraging words. I hope you are helping the people sitting around you and those in your Sunday school class see this too.

larry said...

I'm overjoyed that you wrote this post with a bit of tongue-in-cheek. :)

We often get lost in the shuffle, and are rewarded with great gobs of beady sweat on our forehead; I mean after all, if we vary even one itsy-bitsy part of the service, everyone in heaven immediately looks our direction and holds their breath...

Is the bread leavened, or not; is the juice the right color, taste, and texture, or even the right brand; do you pinch off just a little of the cracker, or a chunk; drink all the cup, or sip a little of it... and, does it matter?

I often wonder if the Lord's Supper has retained its intended purpose, or have we, through our traditions, modified the service. If Scotty were able to beam a first century Christian directly into our church building during the memorial service, would he/she know what was going on!

vic said...

amen, Larry. The silence, the closing ourselves mentailly off from one another, the funeral atmosphere as if there was no resurrection might be a surprise. The lack of shared "remembering" might make them sad. the feeling that it is all about getting it done in 10 minutes so we can go eat our "real" meal at the restaurant.

preacherman said...

good thoughts.
You make me think.
I like that.

Anonymous said...

The Sacrament is complete in one, both, and either kind. We don't make the Sacrament work; God does. He looks an intent; what's in your heart. So, if someone forgets to give you the cup sometime, don't sweat it. The same holds true for denying yourself the Sacrament on any given Sunday because you feel particularly unworthy. That's like the Prodigal Son refusing to go home because he thinks God can't forgive him. We're never worthy enough...that why we need to be FED!