Eucharistic Meditation, October 17

Eucharistic Meditation, October 17 October 18, 2004

1 Cor 11:28-32
In our churches here in Moscow, we like to emphasize that the Lord?s Supper is a feast of joy, a time of gladness not gloom, a time for celebration not self-flagellation. These emphases are all right and proper, and are profoundly important. For centuries, many Christians reduced their celebrations of the Supper to opportunities for meditation on their sins and on the horrors of the cross. It is essential that we strike the note of joy that always dominates meals and feasts in Scripture.

Yet, there is also a danger of reduction on the other side. If Christians in the past have neglected much of the Scriptural teaching about the joy involved with feasting and food, we run the danger of neglecting the equally Scriptural teaching about the dangers of coming to the Lord?s house and table in a state of uncleanness and rebellion. 1 Corinthians 11 does not imply what many Christians think it implies; but it IS in the Bible.

One of the things Paul teaches here is that the Supper is a means of discipline; it is a “chastening lesson.” If we do come unworthily to the Lord?s table ?Eharboring bitterness toward other believers, refusing to be reconciled to our wife or husband, promoting division and schism in the church ?Ethen the Lord will deal with us. He will judge us, and that judgment can take the form of weakness and sickness. The church fathers thought of the Supper as medicine, as a healing meal, and that is true. But for some this is not a table that communicates healing, but one that communicates sickness and death.

This should NOT detract from the joy of our celebration. On the contrary, when we reflect on this in the light of what Joshua has taught us this morning, we realize that the discipline itself is a reason for joy. God has not left us to ourselves; He has not left us in our sins; He does not turn aside in embarrassment and confusion when He sees us teetering toward the abyss. Rather, He disciplines us, so that we may not be condemned along with the world. This table is a table of wisdom because here the Lord disciplines and corrects. And this discipline is good, and we should rejoice in this as much as in the gift of food. As the Proverb says, ?The commandment is a lamp, and the teaching is light; and reproofs for discipline are they way of life.?E

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