1 Corinthians 10:16 — The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?
As a kid that attended church with my grandmother, I remember the Sundays when the church observed the Lord’s Supper. The table at the front of the sanctuary was covered with a white sheet and all the elements of bread and cups of juice sat waiting for the deacons. At the end of service, the deacons walked forward in ceremonial fashion, removed the sheet, and took their respective roles in distributing the elements to the church. Everyone sat solemnly and waited for instructions. Once the pastor spoke about what we were doing and read passages, everyone took the bread and cup. This only happened a few times per year, but I remember it so vividly even now.
What was going on in this church? If you were a guest who never went to church, what would you be observing?
Our passage today cues us in on those questions. Paul writes to the church in Corinth about the cup of blessing. He is referring to their participation with one another in communion. The early church observed this practice weekly, if not daily. Jesus commanded his disciples to do this in remembrance of Him. The bread broken at the Lord’s Table is a participation in the body of Christ. The cup blessed is a participation in the blood of Christ. But what does that mean?
The Lord’s Supper, or Communion, is a physical action of the church of Jesus for spiritual nourishment. The eating of bread is a remembering of Jesus’ sacrifice, but also a participation in it. We are receiving Christ’s broken body for us. That broken body forgives our sins and makes us clean. We drink the cup, signifying His blood. This is not simply a remembrance of Jesus’ shed blood, but a participation in it. We need the blood of Christ covering us in order to wash away our sins. The taking of the Lord’s Super is a unique practice of the Church. It is an act of remembering and participating. It is an acting out of our daily dependence for the nourishment of Christ.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why do you believe Jesus instructed His people to participate in the Lord’s Supper?
- What benefits are there in regular observance of the Lord’s Supper?
- How would you describe the importance of this practice to others?