For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 1 Cor. 12:13
Does it matter how we partake of the Lord’s Supper?
Absolutely. What we do physically in this regard has far-reaching consequences, just as living the rest of our Christian lives has. Let us read one scripture in particular.
“20 When you come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper. 21 For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. 22 What? 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.” (1 Cor. 11:20-22)
That’s the Apostle Paul writing to the Corinthians. Paul realized what was happening in this church. People were so self-centered that the Lord’s Supper had become a free-for-all affair. Everyone did whatever was right in their own eyes. And in doing so (since the flesh had the fore) there was therefore a lot of despising of the church of God, and there was a lot of shaming those who had nothing. There was a lot of stigmatization going on in that church, and this in particular was something the Apostle Paul could not stand. Paul could not stand the poor and weak in church being slighted. He knew it for what it was: it was an affront to Christ. And Paul had harsh words for the Corinthians.
“what shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.”
And Paul was forced to remind the Corinthians the exact manner that the Lord had administered the Lord’s Supper.
“23 For 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: 24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: do this in remembrance of me. 25 After 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. 26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.” (1 Cor. 11:26)
Today, there is a lot of despising and shaming that goes on in church. This is not something new, it has been there since the times of the Early Church as we see here with the church at Corinth. It is part of the onslaught of the flesh against the church. But the partaking of the one cup removes any stigma that might be attached to a brother or sister due to any physical, material or social lack that they might have. Partaking of one cup makes us one. It powerfully breaks any barriers that there may be in the natural, and joins us together into one Body.
Notice that this is the Lord’s Supper. It is not our supper. Our supper serves only to fill our stomachs; it ministers to our bodies. We can take our supper any way we want. On the contrary, the Lord’s Supper is spiritual, and it ministers to our spirits. When we are partaking of the bread, we are partaking of the Lord’s body, and when we drink from that cup, we are partaking of the blood of the Lord Jesus which was shed for the sins of many. This signifies that, in the same way, we too are called to share in the emptying of our own lives that others might live.
This is the powerful reason we should not deviate from the manner that the Lord Jesus Christ set forth in partaking the cup, and which the Early Apostles also carried out.
Let me end with the words of the Prophet Isaiah.
“3 The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4 Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: 5 And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.” (Is. 40:3-5)
Recently, our government began putting up what they call a “standard gauge” rail road that will cut across the country. What surprised me was how level that railroad is. There is no valley, hill or mountain that is allowed to stand before that railroad. Every hill that stands in that railroad’s path will be leveled, and any mountain will be drilled through. That railroad will be as straight as a needle. When I saw that, I began thinking, If man can make something so level, can God not perfect His church even more?
The church is – literally – Christ and His Body. Here, he who is low will be lifted up, and he who is lifted up will be lowered… until we all become level, and truly one. In this manner, true love will be exemplified and given space to perform its good work in church.
The partaking of the cup at the Lord’s Supper is a good starting place.
[The Lord exalts Himself in the humble things of this world]