Preaching Series on Sacraments (3 of 4)

[This is Week 3 of a 4-week preaching series on Sacraments.]

"Celebration," John August Swanson. Used by permission from the artist. Image © by John August Swanson.  Artwork held in the Luther Seminary Fine Arts Collection, St. Paul, Minn.

August 27, 2017

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Commentary on Psalm 65; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

[This is Week 3 of a 4-week preaching series on Sacraments.]

The Lord’s Supper
The Lord’s table, with its supper of bready body and blood-red wine, is a place where we are invited, as the old table-song-summons sings it, “to come and dine, the Master calls us.”

Here again the celebration of the Lord’s Supper creates what is sometimes called “liminal space,” space which God creates using the concrete elements with a word of Promise, in order to meet us, feed us, forgive us, bring us together. And, just as importantly, this space, this place, is where we can encounter the living God — to meet, and know, be transformed by Christ Jesus.


Week 3: Aug. 27, 2017 [Lord’s Supper]

Preaching text: Psalm 65; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

Psalm 65 praises God, and in so doing tells us — by telling God — that “Happy are those whom you choose and bring near to live in your courts.” Here again place is in play. And in God’s place, in God’s courts, house, temple, the promise is that “we shall be satisfied” (verse 4). There is much language in the psalm having to do with grain and corn and produce (and flocks). God provides grain (verse 9), crowns the year with bounty (verse 11), so that “the valleys deck themselves with grain” (verse 13).

As one considers the blessedness of the beatitude, that “happy are those” whom God summons to be fed in God’s house, at God’s table, one cannot help but think of the promise that Christ Jesus makes in the Lord’s Supper.

In 1 Corinthians 11:17-34, Paul addresses three things, first, the problems that seem to be arising when God’s people gather; second, the core purpose of the Lord’s Supper; and third, the danger of dining upon God’s promises in “an unworthy manner.” It seems to me that driving emphasis of 1 Corinthians 11 can, again, be reduced to the question of place. Paul speaks of divisions, i.e. some are deemed to be “out of place” in the congregation’s midst, or do not feel welcome there. So it is the second piece of this reading that is of “first importance,” where celebrating the Lord’s Supper becomes a moment, a place in the Christian gathering, where the Lord’s death is proclaimed.

At the Lord’s Supper, in the Lord’s house and presence, then, we are called, chosen and brought near, to be satisfied with God’s gifts.