Tuesday, February 12, 2013

not worthy to take communion?

Excellent post by the excellent Tim Gombis.  Can't we start reading the text in context (and contexture), and get healed of our Verse-itis?


The Company Jesus Keeps

I’ve often heard Christians express doubts about their fitness to participate in the Lord’s Supper.  They say things like, “I don’t feel worthy to take it,” or “I feel like I need to get some things right before I take communion.”
I think I know what they’re saying.  We know ourselves and our failures and we fear that we don’t measure up to what God expects.
Such a sentiment, however, fails to grasp how “worthiness” language appears in the Bible, and it doesn’t recognize that failures–sinners, prostitutes, tax-collectors–are the only people Jesus welcomes to his table.
When Paul uses “worthiness” language of the Lord’s Supper in 1 Corinthians 11:17-34, he’s referring to specific hypocrisies when participating in the Lord’s Supper.  The meal was a ritual intended to depict the unity of God’s people.  Paul is confronting the Corinthians’ divisive practices throughout 1 Corinthians and this is the context of his comments in chapter 11.  He warns them that if they are participating in divisive behaviors while also celebrating the meal that signifies the unity of the church, they are eating in an unworthy manner.
So the “worthiness” language has to do with intentionally divisive behaviors and not with the sort of people Jesus invites to his table. It is not the case that he has high standards so that only “the worthy” can eat with him.  CONITUNUED

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Hey, thanks for engaging the conversation!