One of my parishioners uses the term ‘party flag’ to describe those moments when his wife was out-of-town. The idea presented in this passage is one of Christians looking at communion as sort of feast or party so the idea fits. Probably the most interesting thing about this passage is how the Corinthians connected communion with the love feasts of their pagan surroundings. Paul hears of it and seeks to correct the problem.
Firstly he tells them flat-out that what they are doing is not the Lord’s supper at all. 1) Everyone is brining their own meal and those who had a lot were not even sharing. 2) The whole atmosphere was wrong as it was more of a party than a remembrance of the work of Christ. Paul has already kind of hinted that this goes back to the divisions among them but he emphasizes that something that is supposed to be a sacred time of communion with other believers, they have perverted to something that emphasized these divisions. Communion is supposed to be a unified time of reflection on Christ’s work not an opportunity for internal church politics.
Paul corrects this by recounting to them what the Lord did. He emphasizes Jesus’ words about doing it in remembrance of him and he gives a solemn warning about eating in an unworthy manner not consider the Lord’s body – the church. Communion has this aspect to it of both remembering Christ by considering the body of believers he died for. Humility is the order of the day not celebration. This was Paul main point – take down the party flag, remember the work of Christ and consider your fellow believers who have been saved by that work.
I am not going to get into the theology of communion, nor the proper way to take it. Both of these are Oreo Cookie issues to me. Nice to discuss and debate but nothing to fight about or cause me to exclude a fellow brother or sister from partaking with me. The overarching issue is remembering Christ as his body, the rest is all details. The choice at the crossroads is to either look at communion as just one of those things we celebrate or one of those things we humbly embrace with all its meaning.