Lent Week 4—Tuesday
Psalm 94 Genesis 49:29-50:14 1 Corinthians 11:17-34 Mark 8:1-10
Have you ever wondered what the Corinthians really thought about Paul? He wrote to them at great length, hoping to teach them how to be Christians; but in this passage, he’s scolding them, saying something like “Hey, you’re not commemorating our Savior’s last meal correctly! Okay, some of you are, but some of you people there in Corinth need to get your priorities in order.” His chief objection seems to be that a lot of Corinthians have turned what we now know as Communion or Holy Eucharist into a big dinner party. So, his advice to those who were doing that was to eat before they came so they’re not focused on filling their stomachs as much as feeding their spirits.
Fair enough, but if you read Mark’s gospel about the multiplication of loaves and fishes, you can discern that Jesus himself was concerned about the human needs of those in attendance. My daughter, the Reverend Madeleine Rebouché, is an Episcopal priest at Christ Church Cathedral in Nashville. She recently preached on this, saying “When Jesus feeds 5,000 people from the contents of a little boy’s basket, he shows us that he cares deeply about human need. In his human nature, he understands that people are hungry and in need of food.”
There is something spiritual about properly nourishing our bodies in preparation for feeding our souls. Our needs, physical and spiritual, are inextricably bound. Who are we to second guess Paul? He no doubt was a respected and effective coach of spiritual practices; but is that how the Corinthians saw him? Probably, but they also knew the person they remember at their spiritual meal was infinitely more.
They, as we do today, were doing it in remembrance of Jesus.