In the text from 1 Corinthians 11 that I read every Lord’s Day here at this table, Paul warns the Corinthians about how they celebrate the Lord’s Supper. He says that when they came together, there were divisions among them, people were eating and drinking on their own, and leaving some out. And for that reason, many were weak and sickly, and some had even died. Because people were not discerning the Lord’s body, they were eating and drinking unworthily and eating and drinking damnation on themselves. Therefore, Paul says people should examine themselves as they come to this table.
And what are they to examine? Paul tells us: are they at odds with anyone at this table? Are there divisions among you? Are you hoping to eat and drink and finish the service and get out before running into so-and-so? That would be a form of eating unworthily. Are you at odds with your parents, your kids, your spouse, your in-laws? Are you at the first service hoping to avoid someone at the second service, or vice versa, or here hoping to avoid someone at CCD or Trinity or some other church in town? If so, Paul would say, you’re coming together is not for the better, but for the worst. People who come to this table of communion while out of fellowship with other believers are not celebrating the Lord’s Supper, and this meal is not a blessing for you but a curse.
So what should you do? Well, if you remember that your brother has something against you and you can sneak across an aisle or two in the middle of the hymn, do it. Better to go make things right and miss a couple of verses and then sit back down and really celebrate the Lord’s Supper. And if you need to talk to someone in one of the other services, determine right now before God that you will go make things right at the first possible moment. Begin preparing heart to confess or forgive or both right now. And ask God to bless that at this table.
And finally, if you are at peace with everyone as far as it depends upon you, celebrate this meal like that is true. Don’t close your eyes and ignore everyone around you. Open your eyes, look down your row at your people, look behind you, look around: see the bread in their hands, see the wine they are holding together with you, and discern the Lord’s body here in our midst. Christ died for us; Christ lives for us; Christ is here with us.
So come and welcome to Jesus Christ.