Summary: Communion is a time of remembrance bringing into the presence of Jesus Christ
Sermon: In Remembrance I Cor 11:17-36 November 3, 2002
A. A little girl asked her mother one Sunday morning as she was preparing lunch, “Mommy, why do you cut off the ends of the ham before you cook it?” The girl’s mother turned and looked at her and said, “Oh, sweetie, I’m not really sure why, but I suppose you cut the ends off of the meat so that the meat can better absorb the juices and spices and make it more tender. Maybe you’d better ask Grandmama since she was the one I learned it from. She always did it that way.” The little girl called her grandmother later that day on the phone and asked her the same question, “Grandmama, why do you cut the ends off of the ham before you cook it?” The little girl’s grandmother responded, “Oh, sweetie, I’m not really sure. I think it is so that the juices will be absorbed better. Call your Nana. She is who I learned it from.” The little girl began to get a bit frustrated with the whole idea, but decided to call her great-grandmother anyway. “Nana, mom was preparing lunch the other day and she cut the ends off of the ham before she cooked it. I asked her why and she said that she did it because the juices would absorb better, making it more tender. She told me to ask Grandmama to make sure since she learned it from her. Well, I called Grandmama and she said the same thing about the juices and all, but that she learned it from you and I should ask you. Nana, why do you cut the ends off of the ham before you cook it?” There was a pregnant pause in the conversation and then the little girl heard what sounded like muffled laughter coming from the other end of the line. “What’s so funny, Nana?” “Oh, sweetie, I cut the ends off of the ham before I cooked it because my pan was too small!” (from Sermon Central)
1. We are such a sentimental people. We keep pictures, we buy souvenirs to commemorate events. We sit around and talk about old times and reminisce. We do things the same way we have always done things without ever asking why without stopping to consider what we are doing.
B. The danger of taking communion
1. It becomes a tradition that we are keeping and doing. It becomes that thing we do on the first Sunday of the month. For some it becomes the reason why they don’t come to church on the first Sunday of the month. “Oh, it’s the first Sunday, we will have communion. It makes the service so long. I don’t think I’ll go.” For others it is simply a snack.
1. The apostle Paul began chapter 11 by praising the Corinthians for their observance of public worship because, in his words, they "held firmly to the traditions." There were good and praiseworthy elements about their worship. But when to their observance of the Lord’s Supper, he has no praise for them. On the contrary, he chastises them telling them they are in need of correction.
2. He begins by reminding them what he told them, what he commended them to do with the Lord’s Supper. He reminds them that it didn’t come from him but directly from the Lord. VERSE 23: For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you….
(a) We observe the Lord’s Supper not because it’s a nice tradition but because it is commanded and given by our lord. We observe it out of obedience.
II. But what are we to do with this observance that God commanded.
A. We are to remember. “This is my body , which is for you, do this in remembrance of me…This cup is the new covenant in my blood do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.
1. We are to remember the body of Christ.
(a) The real body the physical personification of God. The gift and presence of God in human form. The baby in the manager, the man on the hillsides teaching and preaching God’s commandments. The man healing the sick, lame and dying. The man challenging the pharaisees and sadducess and the traditions of the church. The man living, breathing and walking amongst men, women and children demonstrating God’s love for all of humanity.
(b) But mostly we are his body that was given for you.
(i) Jesus was talking to his twelve disciples when he gave the Lord’s Supper. Yet I find it very interesting that he choose to use the words given for you instead of saying I give my body to you my disciples. His words were not limited to the twelve in that room. They were given for you and I as well. They are personal, intimate and yet inclusive. His body was given for you, and you and you and for each individual person in this word.