Scripture: 1 Corinthians 11:23-34
Key verse: (23) For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread.
Reflection: When I was growing up, the church did not allow children to receive communion. Communion was a sacrament for adults. Finishing confirmation class as an adult member of the church was the “ticket” to receive communion.
Over the years, the church policy changed and now baptized children are welcome to receive communion. The Presbyterian Church (USA) Book of Order reads “All who come to the table are offered the bread and cup, regardless of their age or understanding.” Occasionally I will have an adult say “I don’t think children should receive communion because they don’t understand it.” I typically feign amazement and say “You understand it? Theologians for two thousand years have found it to be a mystery. If you understand it, you should write a book.” (snarky response, I know!)
What happens at the table is a mystery, but somehow in the bread and the cup we are reminded of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ and we are assured that Jesus Christ is with us even now. In today’s passage Paul reminds the Christians in Corinth (and subsequently reminds us too) that the meal is holy. That does not mean that communion must always be somber and serious. Paul is reminding us that the meal is an act of the faith family gathered together in community. When we receive the bread and the cup, we are called to live like Jesus Christ in the world. We are called to care for one another and to provide for one another. The Lord’s Supper is an immunization against our own selfishness and that is something we all need, regardless of our age or understanding.
Prayer: Gracious God, you have made us one with all your people in heaven and on earth. You have fed us with the bread of life, and renewed us for your service. Help us who have shared Christ’s body and received his cup, to be his faithful disciples so that our daily living may be part of the life of your kingdom, and our love be your love reaching out into the life of the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(prayer from the PCUSA Book of Common Worship, p. 77)
Author: Millie Snyder
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].