The Holy Eucharist Not Taken Lightly
The Power of the Eucharist
Reading 1 Corinthians 11:28-32 AMPC
Let a man [thoroughly] examine himself, and [only when he has done] so should he eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
In my early walk with the Lord, my husband and I were members of an Episcopal Church. Our pastor was a Spirit-filled, very wise man. I learned a lot from him about the Eucharist. The Lord’s Supper was a central ceremony of the Episcopal Church at that time. It was offered several times a week.
I came to understand that the Eucharist was for healing and forgiveness. It was the means to reconciliation with God and restoration of all life. I was taught great reverence for the Lord’s Supper.
I was often in tears as I received the wine and bread. Sometimes tears of awe, sometimes of repentance. In the latter case, I couldn’t wait to get to the Table of the Lord because I so believed in His Body and Blood as my source of Christ’s Life for all human need. The elements of the ceremony were symbols for ‘remembrance of Christ,’ of all He gave on the cross and for the Holy Spirit to pour His divine life into us.
We were led in prayers of confession and self-examination. And we were taught also that until sin was named and admitted to God, one should not take communion. Just as the scripture above says!
The Holiness of Eucharist
It was not unusual for people to abstain from the communion. I often did so when I was still in the process of ‘judging’ myself. Many stayed in their seats when others went to the Lord’s Table. No one considered it odd. In fact it evoked respect for people who were serious about the Eucharist. We had learned it was better to abstain than to partake with an unworthy condition of soul. Well, in light of these scriptures, it was just smart.
This morning I was reading 1 Corinthians 11:23-34 about the Lord’s Supper. And I was stuck with the fearful awe of God. These are very serious verses.
Paul “received from the Lord that which [he] passed on to [us]” (v. 23). And this instruction from Christ Himself for the order of the Eucharist contains some quite stark warnings. Reading those clear requirements and then the severe consequences, took me to a fresh reverence for the holiness of Eucharist: Christ’s offering His own Blood and Body.
1 Corinthians 11:29-31 AMPC
For anyone who eats and drinks without discriminating and recognizing with due appreciation that [it is Christ’s] body, eats and drinks a sentence (a verdict of judgment) upon himself.
That [careless and unworthy participation] is the reason many of you are weak and sickly, and quite enough of you have fallen into the sleep of death.
For if we searchingly examined ourselves [detecting our shortcomings and recognizing our own condition], we should not be judged and penalty decreed [by the divine judgment].
A Casual Approach to the Eucharist is Dangerous
The Lord’s Supper has become just something you do in church. We take the elements as just a religious observance like Memorial Day, without going through the deep self-judgment which the Lord requires before His sacrifice is ‘ingested’ by faith.
The eternal ramifications and the imminent danger of sickness and death—these are shocking to our casual Christianity. But the Father will not allow His Beloved Son to be treated with such indifference and ingratitude!
May we wake up, live facing the piercing Light of God for His Kingdom, and so receive all the blessed gifts of grace and reconciliation, for which Jesus paid so hideous a price. Such gifts of mercy, grace and forgiveness are lavishly, freely offered!
To be cavalier or unwilling to hallow Christ’s sacrifice is the height of foolishness.
But when we [fall short and] are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined and chastened, so that we may not [finally] be condemned [to eternal punishment along] with the world.
You see, I am judging ME, and sharing it with you.
So now I need to look in God’s face, and confess my sin of walking shallow over deep and holy things.
Then I will embrace that sweet and fresh fear of God and celebrate the Eucharist right here at my desk.