Communion and the Love Feast

“At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16: 11)

The Basket Case Chronicles #139

“Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come” (1 Cor. 11:33-34).

In the early church, the Lord’s Supper was celebrated in the context of a communal meal—a love feast. This explains how it was possible for someone to get drunk at one, or to hog some of the food. It was a potluck that was conjoined to the Eucharistic celebration. It also provides us with a good example of how we are not necessarily called to try to duplicate the practices of the early church. This is what they did, but Paul was kind of nervous about it, and in this place was riding the brake a little bit.

When it is time to eat, he urged them to wait on one another. And if someone is hungry in a physical sense, Paul said that he should take care of that at home. If you come hungry, you will be tempted to use the Supper as a time for satisfying physical appetite, and that is not what it is for. If you approach it that way, your gathering, which ought to be for blessing, will actually be for condemnation. Stay out of trouble, Paul says, and he will fix things even more when he comes.

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2 comments on “Communion and the Love Feast

  1. couldn’t the verb ἐκδέχεσθε simply mean wait for everyone to show up? Don’t eat till everyone arrives? Your virtue will not be impugned so long as you are not halfway into your beer and chili when the stragglers show up?
    Can you point to a place that confirms that “Supper” is not a time for satisfying physical desire? 

  2. The passage, and Doug’s explanation of it, isn’t an argument for satisfying physical physical, but in subordinating the physical to the spiritual. 

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