Sharing and Waiting
1Cor. 11:33 ¶ So then, my brothers and sisters, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.
1Cor. 11:34 If you are hungry, eat at home, so that when you come together, it will not be for your condemnation. About the other things I will give instructions when I come.
The Lord’s Supper had turned into a common feast for the church at Corinth. It was something of a pot-luck dinner and people were celebrating and eating this meal together. The problem was that they would start early, while many of the laborers were still at work. By the time they could arrive there was nothing left. Some people were eating their fill and drinking while others were left hungry. This was not the intent of the Lord’s Supper. Instead, the Lord’s supper was to be a time when they intentionally gathered together, waiting on and preferring one another. It was to be a time of inclusion, not exclusion. It was to be done simply — just the Lord’s supper, and nothing more added to it. This was not about filling bellies, but about worshiping the Lord, and allowing all to come to the table.
This week as I’ve been in Africa the imagery from the Eucharist has been used to describe the global family of God coming to the table. I’m wondering if we might find ourselves in this 1 Corinthians passage somewhere. Have we been willing to wait for one another to come around the table? Sometimes we don’t because we are impatient! It takes too much work to have the translators come and make it possible for everyone to be heard. We just want to push ahead whether everything is really ready or not. We don’t have time to wait, nor do we have the patience to put forth the effort to make sure everyone is included.
Could it also be that the stronger brothers and sisters have made the table available at a time that is convenient for them? Conversations around the openness to leadership from around the world make us question whether we have made the table accessible. Who has been deciding when we gather around the table — where the table is prepared — and what is required to bring to the table?
Sometimes we need to step back and evaluate how we have been doing things. Paul was bringing this observation to the church in Corinth and while the criticism was probably painful to receive, it was a corrective. Within the global church we must sometimes receive some criticism and realize the value of waiting and sharing so that everyone can make it to the table and everyone can be heard and join in as an equal partner.
Lord, may you continue to give us correctives so that we can serve you faithfully. Amen.