“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”” (Lk 22:19).
Ever since Jesus instituted this tradition of sharing bread and wine in remembrance of his body broken and blood shed, Christians have gathered together, participating in this simple but powerful meal. Up unto this very day, all over the world this meal is shared together, as we look back in remembrance, and look forward in hope.
Meals are an important part of our culture, as it was also back in the time of the Corinthians. They bring us together. They nourish us. They create bonds of unity and togetherness. Just think of the way we feel when we join with good friends or family for dinner together!
Earlier in ch 9 Paul addressed the issue of individuals eating meat sacrificed to idols that they had purchased from the market, but now we find that this has gone one step further. It was apparent that some of the Corinthians were participating not just in the Lord’s Supper with other believers, but in feast meals of other idols also.
Christ followers aren’t the only ones who incorporate food into the worship rituals. In many of the pagan religions, food was an important part of worship too, and it was common to find meals within the temple rituals of other gods.
“Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?” (1 Cor 10:16).
Just as participation in the Lord’s Supper is understood as worship of Jesus, Paul says that participation within the pagan rituals cannot be dismissed as nothing, but is in fact worship of those pagan gods.
“You cannot drink of the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons” (1 Cor 10:21).
Maybe for us today, we are unlikely to find ourselves (at least in our Western culture) engaging in meal rituals of worship to other gods. However we can still be reminded of two things here. The first and most important reminder is that our God desires our undivided attention. The second reminder is that of the importance and power of the meal (especially the Lord’s Supper) in worship practice.
As you consider these reminders in your own life, do you sense God saying anything to you through this passage? If so, what might He be calling you to do about it?