“For, in the first place, when you come together as a church I hear that there are divisions’ among you. And I believe it in part for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized….”
(Concerning Communion) “When you come together is it not the Lord’s Supper that you eat?…(note this) …”…This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.”…”This cup is the new Covenant in My blood…do this, as often as you drink it in remembrance of Me.”
Let a person examine himself then…” 1 Cor 11:18-25; and v28a
However we get bogged down in the details, the Holy Spirit is good to us in pointing out the mountains as well as the valleys; the critical control points as well as the process.
Couldn’t help slipping into shop speak.
Critical control points are those points in industrial process where it is recognized that a problem could lurk and it is identified where problems could be avoided. CCP’s can be identified in our Christian walk as well. Paul is identifying two that I think are broadly related. If I can identify these then I can engage with the sanctifying aspect of the Holy Spirit to avoid them.
Factions lead to divisions. If I remember correctly Paul addressed this earlier in 1st Corinthians: “Some of you say I am of Paul, others Apollos…” It is like living in Tampa Bay and telling me you are a Yankee fan. “What?? How can you NOT support the Rays, the home town team?” Back then in the Church it was probably the Jews v. Gentiles (probably not church league softball either) or as Paul writes, “rich and poor.”
And then this conflict (division from each other due to faction among the local church) spilled over into Communion and begins the identifying process of unintended but inevitable consequences taking Communion in an unworthy manner.
Here’s the deal to the face in the mirror: Have I EVER approached Communion haphazardly? Neglectful? Irreverent? Sloppily and not serious? To my shame (which I don’t feel at the moment, really), yes, yes I have.
Two key phrases here: “when you come together” and, “let a person examine himself.” These are two critical control points. When I get together with the church I have important tasks to do ahead of gathering. Tasks like: Conflict management and resolution with any other person as necessary. I shouldn’t celebrate Jesus’ atonement for me resulting in the Father’s forgiveness if I have not forgiven someone else (especially if they are in front of me, like say, at church?), and; have I examined myself to “see if there be any wayward way in me?”
Thankfully I don’t write this to be self-condemning-but I am writing this to be serious about walking through the CCP’s. Confess, repent, move on-repeat as necessary. None of us get it right all the time.
Father: I confess I sometimes approach Your Table flippantly. I ask Your forgiveness and I repent. Please help me, Holy Spirit, to not do this. Help me to keep You and Your majesty in my eyesight all the time. Thank you for being my atonement, Lord Jesus. AMEN.