Weekly Reflection (NEW!)
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
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Please read 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 in your Bibles.
After a meeting in Greensburg, PA I went with a couple of friends to a local diner, Pollock’s Restaurant. There were three of us and one of the guys was a regular at this place. He prepared us before we went by telling tales about the owner’s reputation for lack of hospitality and brutal honesty. He told us how he loved the Reuben sandwich; he ordered it every time he went. He said that the owner was fed up with this, and had asked him if he thought there might be something wrong with the other dishes on the menu. He told us how she didn’t really care for people she didn’t know coming into the restaurant. She gave them lousy service and hoped they never returned. The locals loved the place so much that once they urged her to open up for breakfast. She was exasperated. She threw up her hands and exclaimed, “Don’t you people have homes to eat in!” She stormed out of the dining room. No one ever asked her again to expand the hours.
Paul said the same thing to the Corinthians in verse 22 from the reading: “What! Do you not have homes to eat and drink in?” The Corinthians were not being hospitable when they gathered for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper. They were being rude and selfish. They were having something like covered dish dinners, but instead of everyone spreading out their Jello and casseroles they each greedily kept what they had brought. Some people were poor and went hungry. Others were well off and got drunk. Paul had to remind them that the reason they gathered was not to eat individual meals in front of each other, but to share in the one meal that Jesus Christ asked that they do in remembrance of all that Christ had done for them. It was not about the eating, but about proclaiming Christ’s life-giving death for us in bread and cup. It’s about sharing and receiving with all gathered the great gifts of God’s love and forgiveness for each of them.
My wife and I went to this gala fundraiser at the Pittsburgh Zoo. It was a black tie event. There was to be dancing, animals (of course), and food from local restaurants. There were a lot of people at this event all dressed in evening gowns and tuxedos. There were diverse bands playing and loads of food tables. It was appalling to see how these “upper crust” types were grabbing at the food, shoving in line, and gorging themselves. Nobody seemed to give a flip about the zoo. It was all about getting the “free” food and drinks and being seen. I think they were worried that there wouldn’t be enough of the really good stuff to go around. They missed the point about benefiting the work of the zoo.
Paul warns the Corinthians not to miss the point of gathering together. He tells them to wait for one another. He urges them to discern the body. He instructs them to examine themselves. We too must discern the body, that is the Body of Christ among us. So then we gather together as a body of believers, we gather as the Body of Christ, the church. This is the body we are urged to discern even as we gather to partake of Christ’s body and blood in the meal. We can discern the body by examining ourselves by asking the question, “Why am I here?” We focus our thoughts and hearts on God and being caught up with God through the assembly of believers. We do not gather to be seen, meet members of the opposite sex, or even to selfishly meet our own needs.
We gather to meet as one, holy, catholic (meaning universal) church to worship God and to have to have our lives turned inside out. We gather to meet to give up on the illusion of control we think we have. This allows God to be God in our lives. We gather to meet to give up on the fear of scarcity. This allows our lives to turn outward in love to each other. It is then we discern the Body of Christ right there in front of us. It is then we see Christ in our neighbor. It is then we can love.
Pray that God will turn your life inside out.