To start off: Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4, were written in February and March of 2018. It is currently September of 2019… But as I was considering writing this post, I realized that it fit really well with the other four posts; so here I am picking up right where I left off over a year and a half ago!
I have been thinking a lot about a section of Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth that the NIV translation has labeled “Correcting an Abuse of the Lord’s Supper”. You can find it in 1 Corinthians 11:17-34. But all of it kinda sums up into the last couple of verses:
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.
1 Corinthians 11:33-34 NIV
Paul is pretty frustrated with the Corinthian church because when some people come to celebrate the Lord’s Supper they are feasting and leaving very little for those who come in late. There is a socioeconomic piece here where often the people who would arrive early enough to eat more than others were the rich folks, who didn’t really need the nourishment that the Lord’s Supper could provide, and who didn’t have to work late in the fields… where as those who didn’t have as much financially, who had worked a long day in the fields, and who needed the nourishment the bread and wine could provide were the ones who got very little.
But how does this relate to our Sundays? Every week we gather to be reminded of who God is and what He has done so that we can be Spiritually Nourished (I have no clue why I capitalized that…). And when we do, there are those of us who know how to feed ourselves at home through spiritual disciplines like prayer, sleep, Bible reading, meditation, service, fasting, study, or confession. And there are those of us who have yet to learn how disciplines like these can help us remember that we are free to follow Christ because He has saved us.
If you are still learning and practicing how to implement your own spiritual nourishment, coming to a Sunday Service running on empty makes perfect sense! Come each week and be refreshed by the good news that God loves you in spite of your open rebellion against Him!
But if you know how to feed yourself, but you aren’t… why? You could be in a season of life where someone in your family is incredibly sick and your bandwidth has dropped to next to nothing. You might have recently experienced a huge transition in your life and you are working on putting all the pieces back together. You might be just be being lazy.
If we know how to feed ourselves, have the ability to do it, and don’t… when we come to church expecting to be fed instead of coming to church expecting to serve, we are putting those who don’t know and/or don’t have the ability to right now at a disadvantage and doing them a disservice. From season to season everyone is going to move from one group to the other, but I think that 1 Corinthians 11 is encouraging us, as often as we can, to serve our brothers and sisters by eating at home so that we can be nourished when we come together through acts of service.
Part 2 of this series finishes with the line:
How can we use Sundays well? By recognizing that most of our worship takes place during the rest of the week.
I want to end Part 5 this way: How can we use Sundays well? By recognizing that most of our spiritual nourishment can take place during the rest of the week.