‘Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup.’ (v28) 1 Corinthians 11:17-32
Criticism cuts deep. A group of people whose loving community is to provide tangible evidence of the truth of the gospel often falters in its execution (John 13:35). The Communion table demands that we ensure our conscience is clear and our relationship issues have been addressed. Jesus says we must press pause on taking Communion if someone has a problem with us (Matt. 5:23-24).
God leaves no room for broken relationships. Taking Communion provokes us to manage our relationships, so it’s sad this isn’t a weekly event in all churches. Paul knows the foundational value of community. Snapshots of the first Christians present a picture of cohesion and mutuality. Many of us long for such a community but recognise it will exact a price. We cannot have the community on our terms.
Sadly, following separation from Rome at the Reformation, the church has yet to find the capacity to stop splintering. The Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon–Conwell Theological Seminary estimated 43,000 independent Christian groups in 2012, rising from 1,600 in 1900.
There may be legitimate reasons, but the optics don’t look good. As part of our ministry of reconciliation, we must work better together and reflect the foundational message of the Christian Church (Matt. 28:17-20).
RELATED SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: Mal. 2:1-16; Matt. 18:21-35; Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-35.
AN ACTION TO TAKE: What do you feel about building community as an expression of God’s commitment to draw all people to Himself (John 12:32)? Where can you start?
A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, help me to honour You within my relationships and work to encourage community across the Church. Amen.’
Photo by James Coleman on Unsplash