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Worthy Eating Worthy Eating

Worthy Eating

In an article in The Atlantic titled “Why Americans Now Dress So Casually,” Deirdre Clemente observes, “Americans began the 20th century in bustles and bowler hats and ended it in velour sweatsuits and flannel shirts—the most radical shift in dress standards in human history.” Dressing for church used to mean dresses, suits, and ties. Now it is common to find people worshiping in blue jeans and even shorts.

The idea of formal or casual attire changes with cultural norms. But Scripture is clear that the Lord’s Supper should not be treated casually. It isn’t a matter of dress but of attitude and behavior. Paul warns that those who observe the Lord’s Supper should not eat the bread or drink the cup in an “unworthy” manner (v. 27). But what is a worthy manner?

We know what Paul cannot mean. Worthy does not mean sinless. The Lord’s Supper is a meal for sinners. Its focus on the body and blood of Christ offered for us reminds us of our need for forgiveness. Instead, worthy eating has two qualities. First, it begins with an awareness of need. Those who partake must begin by “examining” themselves (v. 28).

Second, worthy eating involves “discerning the body of Christ” (v. 29). Although this certainly includes the recognition of the sacred nature of the meal, it means more. Paul had rebuked the Corinthians for their selfishness in their observance of communion, and he wanted them to focus not only on their individual relationship with God but also on their participation within the body of Christ as the church. Those who partake of the Lord’s Supper worthily recognize that union with Christ also unites them to their brothers and sisters who are in Christ.

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Please uphold in prayer Moody Radio’s Administration staff—Scott Krus, Elsa Mazón, and Maureen Ber—as they help broadcast the message of Christ across the country and all over the world via the internet.

BY Dr. John Koessler

John Koessler is Professor Emeritus of Applied Theology and Church Ministries at Moody Bible Institute. John authors the “Practical Theology” column for Today in the Word of which he is also a contributing writer and theological editor. An award-winning author, John’s newest title is When God is Silent: Let the Bible Teach You to Pray (Kirkdale). Prior to joining the Moody faculty, he served as a pastor of Valley Chapel in Green Valley, Illinois, for nine years. He and his wife, Jane, now enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan.

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