1 Corinthians 11:20-22 20 When you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, 21 for as you eat, each of you goes ahead without waiting for anybody else. One remains hungry, another gets drunk. 22 Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you for this? Certainly not!
We used to have some pretty knarly potlucks at Abundant Life. I am happy to say they have improved, but early on they weren’t so hot. Now I know that participating in a potluck meal leaves one to wonder what they are going to eat; you never really know. And with a good potluck that should be a good thing. But such was not the case in the early potluck years of Abundant Life. Maybe our church was just too young and we needed some veterans to show us how it was done. You see, some of our first potlucks were pretty sorry. We were lucky if someone brought a main dish. The contributions often consisted of: an already opened bag of chips, heading toward stale oreos, an 8-piece chicken from Safeway, breadsticks from Route 66, generic soda, and cups to drink it out of if we were lucky. Oh, and chinese takeout. Let’s not forget that.
It appears that the early church in Corinth had some troubles with their potlucks, too. Their problems were a little different, however. They thought they were doing a good job by following the instructions to “never forsake the breaking of bread” together. As the church, there is this importance to break bread and remember Christ and what He did on the cross. There is great value in coming together for communion.
In the early church this was done very differently than we do it now. They didn’t use a little plastic cup with some grape juice. They shared a meal – a feast. The problem was they got carried away. People were coming early and treating it like a buffet line. Some people were drinking all the wine and were drunk by the time church started. Oh, but they were breaking bread! Ya, not what Paul had in mind we he told them to break bread together. It lost it’s purpose; it was no longer being done for the sake of remembering the sacrifice of Jesus. It was just a potluck gone bad.
It would do us some good to keep this in mind when we take communion together. This taking of communion wasn’t intended for us to have a snack at church. Rather, it is for the benefit of remembering what Jesus did and taking seriously our gratitude to Him. And if you read on in 1 Corinthians 11, you will find that it should be taken seriously. (Take a read for yourself, it’s pretty hardcore.) What Christ did for us was HUGE. It was and is a big deal. It would be quite dishonoring to Him if we took what He did and made a potluck out of it. Today, I will thank Jesus for His sacrifice and I will remember what He has done. When I reflect on that, it changes my heart and changes my life.