Bad Corinthians!   3 comments

Above:  A Table Set for the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist

Image Source = Jonathunder

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:EucharistELCA.JPG)

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1 Corinthians 11:17-28, 33 (The Jerusalem Bible):

Now that I am on the subject of instructions, I cannot say that you have done well in holding meetings that you do more harm than good.  In the first place, I hear that when you all come together as a community, there are separate factions among you, and I half believe it–since there must no doubt be separate groups among you, to distinguish those who are to be trusted.  The point is, when you hold these meetings, it is not the Lord’s Supper that you are eating, since when the time comes to eat, everyone is in such a hurry to start his own supper that one person goes hungry while another is getting drunk.  Surely you have homes for eating and drinking in?  Surely you have enough respect for the community of God not to make poor people embarrassed?  What am I to say to you?  Congratulate you?  I cannot congratulate you on this.

For this is what I received from the Lord, and in turn passed on to you:  that on the same night that he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread, and thanked God for it and broke it, and he said,

This is my body, which is for you; do this as a memorial of me.

In the same way he took the cup after supper, and said,

This cup is the new covenant in my blood.  Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.

Until the Lord comes, therefore, every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are proclaiming his death, and so anyone who eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will be behaving unworthily towards the body and blood of the Lord.

Everyone is to recollect himself eating this bread and drinking this cup….

So, to sum up, my dear brothers, when you meet for the Meal, wait for one another….

1 Corinthians 12:12-14, 27-31 (The Jerusalem Bible):

Just as a human body, though it is made up of many parts, is a single unit because of all these parts, though many, make one body, so it is with Christ.  In the one Spirit we were all baptised, Jews as well as Greeks, slaves as well as citizens, and the one Spirit was given to us all to drink.

Nor is the body to be identified with any one of its member parts.

Now you together are Christ’s body; but each of you is a different part of it.  In the Church, God has given the first place to apostles, the second to prophets, the third to teachers; after them, miracles, and after them the gift of healing; helpers, good leaders, those with many languages.  Are all of them apostles, or all of them prophets, or all of them teachers?  Do they all have the gift of miracles, or all have the gift of healing?  Do all speak strange languages, and all interpret them?

Be ambitious for the higher gifts.  And I am going to show you a way that is better than any of them.

Psalm 40:8-12 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

8  Burnt-offering and sin-offering you have not required,

and so I said, “Behold, I come.

9  In the roll of the book it is written concerning me:

‘I love to do your will, O my God;

your law is deep in my heart.’”

10  I proclaimed righteousness in the great congregation;

behold, I did not restrain my lips;

and that, O LORD, you know.

11  Your righteousness have I not hidden in my heart;

I have spoken of your faithfulness and your deliverance;

I have not concealed your love and faithfulness from the great congregation.

12  You are the LORD;

do not withhold your compassion from me;

let your loving and your faithfulness keep me safe for ever.

Psalm 100 (1979 Book of Common Prayer):

Be joyful in the LORD, all you lands;

serve the LORD with gladness

and come before his presence with a song.

Know this:  The LORD himself is God;

he himself has made us, and we are his;

we are the sheep of his pasture.

3 Enter his gates with thanksgiving;

go into his courts with praise;

give thanks to him and call upon his name.

4 For the LORD is good;

his mercy is everlasting;

and his faithfulness endures from age to age.

Luke 7:1-17 (The Jerusalem Bible):

When he [Jesus] had come to the end of all he wanted the people to hear, he went into Capernaum.  A centurion there had a servant, a favourite of his, who was sick and near death.  Having heard  about Jesus he sent some Jewish elders to ask him to come and heal his servant.  When they came to Jesus they pleaded earnestly with him.

He deserves this of you,

they said,

because he is friendly towards our people; in fact, he is the one who built the synagogue.

So Jesus went with them, and was not very far from the house when the centurion sent word to him by some friends:

Sir,

he said,

do not put yourself to trouble; because I am not worthy to have you under my roof; and for this same reason I did not presume to come to you myself; but give the word and let my servant be cured.  For I am under authority myself, and have soldiers under me; and I say to one man:  Go, and he goes; to another:  Come here, and he comes; to my servant:  Do this, and he does it.

When Jesus heard these words he was astonished at him and, turning around, said to the crowds following him,

I tell you, not even in Israel have I found faith like this.

And when the messengers got to the house they found the servant in perfect health.

Now soon afterwards he [Jesus] went to a town called Nain, accompanied by his disciples and a great number of people.  When he was near the gate of the town it happened that a dead man was being carried out for burial, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.  And a considerable number of the townspeople were with her.  When the Lord saw her he felt sorry for her.

Do not cry

he said.  Then he went up and put his hand on the bier and the bearers stood still, and he said,

Young man, I tell you to get up.

And the dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him to his mother.  Everyone was filled with awe and praised God saying,

A great prophet has appeared among us; God has visited his people.

And this opinion of him spread throughout Judaea and all over his countryside.

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The Collect:

O God, because without you we are not able to please you mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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Some Related Posts:

Only Begotten, Word of God Eternal:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/only-begotten-word-of-god-eternal/

Bread of Heaven, On Thee We Feed:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/05/30/bread-of-heaven-on-thee-we-feed/

Thanksgiving after Communion, 1917:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/thanksgiving-after-communion-1917/

At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/04/23/at-the-lambs-high-feast-we-sing/

Glory, Love, and Praise, and Honor:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/04/14/glory-love-and-praise-and-honor/

Humbly I Adore Thee, Verity Unseen:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/04/14/humbly-i-adore-thee-verity-unseen/

Deck Thyself, With Joy and Gladness:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/04/03/deck-thyself-with-joy-and-gladness/

In Remembrance of Me:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/01/27/in-remembrance-of-me/

I Come with Joy to Meet My Lord:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2011/01/23/i-come-with-joy-to-meet-my-lord/

Here, O My Lord, I See Thee Face to Face:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/11/01/here-o-my-lord-i-see-thee-face-to-face/

Become to Us the Living Bread:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/10/01/become-to-us-the-living-bread/

Very Bread, Good Shepherd, Tend Us:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/09/27/very-bread-good-shepherd-tend-us/

Body of Jesus, O Sweet Food!:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/09/22/body-of-jesus-o-sweet-food/

Shepherd of Souls:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/09/07/shepherd-of-souls-by-james-montgomery/

Let Thy Blood in Mercy Poured:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/08/11/let-thy-blood-in-mercy-poured-by-john-brownlie/

The King of Love My Shepherd Is:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/08/01/the-king-of-love-my-shepherd-is/

I Am the Bread of Life:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/31/i-am-the-bread-of-life/

A Prayer of Thanksgiving for the Holy Eucharist:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/31/a-prayer-of-thanksgiving-for-the-holy-eucharist/

Prayer of Humble Access:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/31/prayer-of-humble-access/

Break Thou the Bread of Life:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/29/break-thou-the-bread-of-life/

After Receiving Communion:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/25/after-receiving-communion/

Before Receiving Communion:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/25/before-receiving-communion/

Novena Prayer in Honor of the Blessed Sacrament:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/20/novena-prayer-in-honor-of-the-blessed-sacrament/

O Bread of Life:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/o-bread-of-life/

A Eucharistic Blessing:

http://gatheredprayers.wordpress.com/2010/07/17/a-eucharistic-blessing/

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The Corinthian church seems to have been a troubled congregation full of people who behaved quite badly.  Anyone who has read 1 Corinthians consecutively should know much of the contents of the catalog of sins, including backbiting, committing idolatry, failing to control one’s sexual impulses, and engaging in predatory sexual practices (sometimes with minors).  Why would anyone not already Christian become one of the faithful, based on these bad examples and role models?  As Ron Popeil says,

But wait, there’s more.

Instead of a rotisserie chicken machine or a nifty knife set, however, we get drunkenness at the Holy Eucharist and excessive pride in one’s own spiritual gifts combined with a dismissive attitude toward the spiritual gifts of others.

Our unity is in Christ, from whom we derive the label “Christian.”  Mutual support was supposed to mark the Corinthian church, but the opposite did.  Mutual support is supposed to mark us in the Christian Church today.  Sometimes it does.  I belong to a congregation where I feel accepted, but I have firsthand knowledge of some where I have not.

Now, to change the subject….

My usual purpose in these posts is to maintain a devotional tone and ponder practical lessons from readings.  Yet now I turn into a teacher.  There is a well-supported hypothesis which holds that the authors of the three Synoptic Gospels (Mark, Luke, and Matthew) drew from various sources, including Q, a collection of Jesus sayings.  Paul’s writing on the Holy Eucharist, in which he quotes Jesus, confirms that there was some source of Jesus sayings, for Paul could not have quoted any of the four canonical Gospels.  He died in 64, prior to the composition of Mark, the earliest of that genre in the canon of scripture.

Speaking of the Holy Eucharist…

Indeed, the altar is the table of God, and nobody ought to abuse its sacred elements or take it lightly.  Paul, writing regarding food sacrificed to imaginary deities, claimed that

Food, of course, cannot bring us in touch with God:  we lose nothing if we refuse to eat, we gain nothing if we eat.–1 Corinthians 8:8, The Jerusalem Bible

Here I must argue with Paul.  I have come in close contact with God at Holy Eucharist since I was a child.  My only complaint when I was growing up in rural United Methodist congregations in the South Georgia Conference was that I had these opportunities too infrequently.  Now, as an Episcopalian, that is no longer a problem.  Eucharist is, as The Book of Common Prayer (1979) tells us,

the central act of Christian worship.

So one should partake of it as frequently as possible, always with reverence.

God calls a wide variety of people with diverse spiritual gifts to form and maintain Christian communities in which people love and support each other.  We all have our foibles and other failings, so patience is a great virtue.  But together we can support each other in righteousness and be visible faces of Christ to each other.  That is our calling; may we embrace it and continue to do so.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 21, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM CAREY, FATHER OF MODERN MISSIONS

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Published originally at ORDINARY TIME DEVOTIONS BY KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR on October 21, 2011

Adapted from this post:

http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/2011/10/21/week-of-proper-19-monday-year-2-and-week-of-proper-19-tuesday-year-2/

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