[from May 4, 2012]
"Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the LORD in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body & blood of the LORD. Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup."
(1 Corinthians 11:27-28)
There's a common assumption among many today (both within and outside the church), that God expects us to "get our act together" before coming to Church (or to Him). "I don't want to be a hypocrite," people say. And then some within the church choose not to receive Holy Communion for the same reason. They frequently cite 1 Cor. 11:27-32 and say there's sin in their life, so they 'll not "eat and drink in an unworthy manner." And it sounds so humble.
But there's a section BEFORE those verses in the same chapter that deals with Communion, too. No one seems to quote these verses. Specifically, 1 Cor. 11:17-26 (okay, 23-26 gets quoted a lot - it's the "words of institution" part of the Communion liturgy). The "unworthy manner" of taking Communion for some in the Corinthian Church dealt with excess! They were coming to church and using communion as their dinner - eating to get full and drinking to get drunk!! "What? Do you not have homes to eat and drink in?" Paul protests! He chides the church in Corinth to think of others before themselves. There should be enough bread & wine for everyone! Don't be so callous.
Which gets me back to the original question of this post. Does God expect us to get our act together before coming to church (or taking Communion)? OF COURSE NOT! That's why he sent Jesus - precisely because we don't have our act together.
So come to the church, everyone! Come to the Table of the Lord! Everyone is welcome.
You won't be judged, but loved!
(Just be sure to eat at home first, okay!?!)