1 Corinthians 11:17-34; 2 Kings 5; Obadiah 1
T-Shirts make interesting statements. My son was known for some of the most amusing T-shirts, and when people saw shirts they thought would fit in with his collection, they added to it. The other day I went to meet someone I had only met on the internet. I wore a T-shirt that had a message that she would understand, but very few other people would get. When people have family reunions, they make T-shirts to commemorate the event. When sports teams win championships, a new t-shirt shows up. And yes, I got one to commemorate the end of 108 years of futility when the Cubs won the World Series. When you wear a T-shirt with a message you are saying, “I believe this.” Or “I support this.” Or even “Laugh with me.”
While it’s not a T-shirt, I have a Cubs jersey that my daughter gave me after the World Series win. It’s a reminder of my dad, who was a great Cubs fan. When I wear that shirt, I am proclaiming to all the world that not only am I a Cubs fan, but my father lives in my heart. I remember him, his love for the Cubs, and even more, his love for me. We do a lot of different things to make important statements. Many Christians will wear T-shirts with cute gospel messages. Some won’t, for fear that something they might do would bring disrepute to the cause of the gospel. There is one thing that all Christians do that show that we are followers of Christ. We may understand the process differently, but when we take communion, or the Lord’s Supper, we are declaring that we follow Christ. “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:26)
It was supposed to be a simple act of faith. Th church, eating the bread and partaking of the cup as one, proclaims to the world that Jesus Christ died on the cross and that He will be returning again. The Corinthians, however, had turned this simple act into another way to divide the church. People would bring their own food to the church meeting and have a great meal before the time of eating the bread and drinking the cup. Others, perhaps just getting away from work for a short time, might have been famished. This was no church potluck, though, this was “every family for themselves” as some would eat and drink so much that they became drunk, while others had the scrap of bread and a small drink of wine. The church, where all people were supposed to be seen as equal, had become another symbol of the division between rich and poor in the Corinthian society and Paul reminded them how it should be.
It’s such a simple act with such a profound meaning. Whatever you may understand about the process, whenever you eat that small piece of bread and partake of the cup, you are proclaiming that Jesus died on the cross for your sins, and that He’s coming again. Because the church takes the Lord’s Supper, or Communion, together, it proclaims the community of the church in Jesus Christ. We could be like Christians down through the ages and draw on our Corinthian heritage to let other groups know how wrong they are in their beliefs when we observe this time. Or we could learn from Paul and make this a time when the church proclaims to the world in a united voice: “Jesus died for us and He’s returning. Won’t you join us in our journey with God.” While all that we do should show people what God has done for us through Jesus Christ, this simple act with the bread and the cup should be a show of unity to a skeptical world. Rejoice in this time! Make this observance a celebration of your love for Jesus and remember what you are proclaiming to the world when you take the Lord’s Supper.
Oh Lord, let the simple act of eating a small piece of bread and drinking a small amount of liquid remind us of Your amazing sacrifice. Let my life proclaim how You died for our sins to all who see me.