Communion: Looking at 1 Cor. 11:17-34, an introduction.

The Summer of 2020 is going to go down in our memories as a year like no other. Grafted’s response to COVID-19 put us in a position where we were no longer meeting every week in order to share in the symbolic meal we call Communion.

We did gather 3 different times to participate in this meal, some of us in person and some of us over Zoom. We had a shortened service, we all wore masks, our communion was individually packaged for each family, and by the end being outside felt VERY cold! But over those 3 services we looked at a passage in one of Paul’s letters to the church at Corinth, known today as 1 Corinthians 11:17-34. We looked at this passage from 3 different angles: Unity, Taking Communion in a Worthy Manner, and Remembrance.

We have not been putting the audio file of the sermon online, because Communion has the implication, built into its name, that it is to be done communally… That doesn’t mean that we can’t have some form of the sermons available for those who missed them!

Over the next 3 blog posts I intend to look at 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 through the 3 lenses of Unity, Taking Communion in a Worthy Manner, and Remembrance. Typically I preach my sermons from a manuscript, and so it would be easy to recreate what I said nearly word for word… But for these three weeks I preached from just a few notes. So I humbly apologize to those who missed the sermons when they were first presented. But I hope you find these posts helpful as you continue to practice taking communion for years to come!

Before you continue on to read the other three posts, here is a copy of the text we will be looking at:

1 Corinthians 11:17-34 NIV

17 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. 20 So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, 21 for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. 22 Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter!
23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. 32 Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.
33 So then, my brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, you should all eat together. 34 Anyone who is hungry should eat something at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment.
And when I come I will give further directions.

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