Summary: The supper table is a fmaily meal. A place of relationship. The Lords supper is a meal of reltionship.
The Supper Table
I don’t think any of you will be really surprised when I tell you that we will be receiving Holy Communion today.
It is pretty obvious that the table is set. The gifts of bread and New wine (grape Juice) are present on the center of the altar table this morning.
Let me get something out of the way right up front. Holy Communion, the Eucerist, The Lord ’s Supper is a very special service to me. I know that may not be true for all of you and oddly enough for probably the exact same reason.
Holy Communion is a service that draws our attention to several mysteries related to God and our Relationship to the holy and divine that no one seems able to explain. We don’t normally like mysteries that go unresolved.
I have a recollection that comes from childhood in Douglasville Ga. I remember being called to the supper table in that small kitchen. Mom would call everyone to the table and as we were getting into our chairs. The question rang out.
Did you wash your face and hands?
I don’t remember ever really remembering to wash my hands and face before I ran to the table for supper. I do remember having to show my hands and sometime a closer inspection of my face and behind my ears. I seem to recall being sent back to wash more than once before I passed inspection.
The supper table was a place where we caught up on what had been going on that day and week. It was a place of planning and sometimes correction.
The supper table in my childhood home was a place of communion. The Dictionary defines communion as an act of sharing, intimate fellowship.
The Lord’s Supper is in a simple definition an invitation to re-enact and to be a part of a family meal that was hosted by Jesus in an upper room. It was a meal that had been celebrated since the Jews were freed from being slaves in Egypt. When the Holy Spirit passed over the homes with blood marking the door post saving them from God’s judgment.
Our scripture this morning comes from a section in 1st Corinthians where Paul had been giving instructions about worship to the church at Corinth. He speaks of head coverings and hair length for men and women that spoke in worship. Ultimately he explains the relationship between men and women and God.
Just before the section we read this morning Paul specifically says that he has no praise for his readers. He claims that their meetings do more harm than good, because divisions in the church. He is specifically speaking of the practice of the Lord’s Supper.
He is disappointed in how the church is carrying out the remembrance ceremony that Jesus held in the upper room. Paul speaks of some in the church that were left hungry and some that got drunk.
It sounds like he is describing a multiple choice dinner. Perhaps you would say a pot luck dinner; I just have a dislike of the adjective pot because of how some people use it to describe me.
However, the situation he describes is different. He indicates that the people that brought a meal for themselves. They were not sharing as a group. It appears that some with no means came to the event with no food and were hungry while others pigged out on deviled eggs, fried chicken livers and homemade cakes and pies. He says that he had even heard of some people getting drunk.
His anger is not related to having a gathering. It is that the way the Corinthians are celebrating, makes difference in status, wealth very obvious. Some seem too blatantly over do. So Paul condemns how some of the people act.
Then we pick up with our reading this morning. He reminds his readers about the core elements of the story, the basis of the celebration.
He says, “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you:” Paul tells us that he is about to teach his readers what the Lord taught him.
He is not claiming personal knowledge, because he was not in the room on that Passover night. It seems that he is explaining that he has received a specific revelation from the Lord about that night in the upper room.
The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 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." 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."