The book of 1 Corinthians, the first letter of the apostle Paul to the church in the Greek city of Corinth, is full of foundational teachings and a number of well-known passages and phrases. As we read through it, imagine receiving it as a member of that early church.
Read 1 Corinthians 11:27-34
So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.
So then, my brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, you should all eat together. Anyone who is hungry should eat something at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment.
And when I come I will give further directions.
What is Paul stressing here? What's he especially concerned about as the new Christians implement the eating of the bread and the drinking of the wine in memory of Jesus?
Next time you partake in communion at church, remember Paul's words. Examine yourselves, and ponder the body of Christ broken for you. Focus not just on yourself as you practice communion, but focus on these words: "You should all eat together." How do these thoughts change the experience for you?