Nov. 21, 2021
St. Matthew 25:31 “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:”
Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.
18For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
19For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
20When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper.
21For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.
22What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.
23For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
24And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
25After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
26For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.
27Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
28But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
29For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
30For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
31For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
32But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.
1Corinthians chapter 11, verses 20 through 22 are a little difficult to understand without knowing that in the early church, they had a meal together (agape) before taking the Lord’s supper. As mentioned above, this got in the way; folks were full (and probably elected not to eat the ‘bread’ and ‘drunken’ needs no explanation). It became such a bad situation, the Council of Carthage, A.D. 397, forbade the agape meal. I don’t know but I suspect that the reason we are supposed to take Holy Communion on an empty stomach may well have come from this. Today, however, we think more of it as being the breaking of our fast and Jesus sustaining us.
Verses 27 through 30 are very familiar to us because we have The Exhortations on page 85 of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. It’s a healthy practice to read and consider the Exhortations before leaving for church each Sunday morning. Of course, if you’ve got a family to dress and ready for church, that’s not going to be optimum for you but when you have everyone – including yourself – settled, it’s a good thing to read them and honestly measure yourself against them. Make sure your heart is right before receiving Communion. If you feel that you are not worthy to take Communion, don’t. No one will notice. But then you might consider having a private word with your priest and let him help you sort out whatever holds you back from receiving. But don’t receive it ‘unworthily’.