S (Scripture): 1 Corinthians 11:20 Now when you come together at the same place, you are not really eating the Lord’s Supper. 11:21 For when it is time to eat, everyone proceeds with his own supper. One is hungry and another becomes drunk. 11:22 Do you not have houses so that you can eat and drink? Or are you trying to show contempt for the church of God by shaming those who have nothing? What should I say to you? Should I praise you? I will not praise you for this!
O (Observation): Observing the sacrament of Holy Communion in Paul’s time, in Corinth, was not as structured as what you might see in a traditional Lutheran church setting.
The breakdown of community amongst the Jesus-followers seeped into their observance of Holy Communion. The rich didn’t have to work as much as the poor. Thus, the rich would get to the bread and wine first. And when they got the bread and wine, they weren’t conservative with it. Paul says here: “One is hungry and another becomes drunk.” That’s because the the rich (or maybe we call them “the inconsiderate”) didn’t leave much for the poor (or latecomers).
Some got drunk, and some remained hungry for the body and blood of Jesus.
The fractured community didn’t get praise in this instance.
A (Application): While our form of distribution of Holy Communion is fair, we have a long way to go to consider ourselves a healthy community as Christians in the world.
Sometimes, in our congregations, we have people who need care, and we can have a tough time finding others to bring that care. Sometimes we do respond in big ways, don’t get me wrong…but…
When we get beyond the walls of our own congregations, we can start to turn a blind eye towards the needs of the world around. It’s easy to “get drunk” while others go hungry. And I’m in this boat, too.
Perhaps this Scripture reminds us to think about others: those in Baltimore, those in Nepal, those in Oklahoma City (recent tornadoes). The ELCA has formal responses you can follow: Lutheran Disaster Response, Lutheran World Relief, and other national / international response groups, like the Red Cross.
Where are you called to respond? How are you caring for others?
P (Prayer): Lord, move me from my throne of complacency. Help me to act. Amen.