“Self-examination Before The Lord’s Supper!”(I Cor.11:27-34).
There’s this Nigerian comedian who has used Holy Communion as pun material. I’ve not seen anything funny about it to make me laugh. He is making a joke of the One who holds the key of the life of believers. However, in his joke I have seen truth expressed in a funny way.
He says he is angry because his pastor asked him to stop talking Holy Communion. When he asked to know the reason, the pastor told him that the way he eats the bread is as if he is happy that Jesus died. In other words, he eats the bread in an unworthy manner.
Still on the Lord’s Supper Paul says, “Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without recognizing the body of the Lord eats and drinks judgment on himself…”
But how is it possible for somebody to eat and drink without recognizing the body of the Lord? Deep and extensive theological reflection has gone into this; leading to the doctrines of “transubstantiation” and “consubstantiation.”
Transubstantiation is the doctrine that the Eucharistic elements of bread and wine are converted into the body and blood of Christ at consecration, and only the appearance of bread and wine still remains.
Meanwhile consubstantiation is the doctrine of the Eucharist which affirms that the body and blood of Christ “substantially coexist with the consecrated bread and wine.”
Various denominations hold to one or the other above. What is important and as per the scriptures is that the Eucharist is a commemorative meal. It is taken in remembrance of the body and blood offered for the remission of sins. We are not told in scriptures that when Jesus had that last meal with the apostles the bread became his body and the wine his blood. When we share in the meal we remember his death, and the reason why he died. At the same time we remember that he did not remain in the grave. That is why we announce his resurrection and await his second coming.
Self-examination is necessary before we partake of the Lord’s Supper, otherwise we take it unworthily. And the end result would be sickness and death.
That is why we have a “Preparatory Service” which is what ought to be before the celebration of the Lord’s Supper; but which is least adhered to.
It is good for each person to be a judge of himself/herself and confess to God before receiving the Sacrament of Holy Communion.
Weekend prayer: Holy Spirit prod me in the inner being to always examine myself so that I do not take the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner. Amen!
Have a blessed weekend! Peace be with you!
Rev. Babila Fochang.