Explaining why we do something usually puts us on the defensive. We feel challenged when asked “why?” as if our character is being questioned. Why we do something matters. That is not only true for the things we do, but the activities we plan. Publicity, preparation, and the final picture are all impacted by our why. Let’s apply these three things to Paul’s challenge to the Corinthians to why they gathered to observe the Lord’s Supper.
Publicity. We don’t know how the event was announced, so the best we can do is imagine how it might have been. I don’t get the impression that the focus of the announcement would have been about remembering the sacrifice of Jesus. The focus of the announcement seems to have been more on who brought what casserole and who would be allowed to eat from that casserole.
Preparation. Paul pointed to all the food and drink available at the event. Imagine the hours that went into preparing the leg of lamb, the potato kugel, and the rugelach. Additional preparation seems to have been dedicated to deciding who met the qualifications for partaking and who simply got to watch.
Picture. After every event, people walk away with a mental picture. That mental picture brings meaning to the event. Based on Paul’s description, the picture had very little to do with remembering the sacrifice of Jesus. Some appear to have been too hungover the next day to have any kind of mental picture of the event. Others walked away with a different picture as they were pushed to the back and excluded from the feast.
Paul reminded his readers that the Lord’s Supper should be approached with reverence. All believers should be invited to participate on equal ground. They should come prepared to reflect on the sacrifice made on their behalf by Jesus. Their preparation should include the offering of grace to those who have offended them, just as Jesus offered grace to us. The mental picture should be one of humble gratitude toward the Savior. Jesus directed the disciples to participate in this special meal to remember HIM, which should be our single focus as we drink the cup and eat the bread.
For more on the significance of the Lord’s Supper, read section VII. Baptism and Lord’s Supper in the Baptist Faith and Message document (SBC.NET link).
What actions do you take in preparation for observing the Lord’s Supper? If someone asked you why you observe the Lord’s Supper, what would you tell them?