Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 2 (Summer 2016) - Page 79

VOLUME 11, NUMBER 2 A JOURNAL FOR THE THEOLOGY OF CULTURE He got into the house and said to himself, “I guess I made it.” Then he remembered about Middle Eastern hospitality rules in the Bible. He put together a plate of traditional Egyptian food and put a hashish cigarette right in the middle and thought that he had covered all the bases. The guys started coming toward him and he offered them the food. They looked at him and said, “You come in our house. You’re part of us now and no one will hurt you in this neighborhood.” So food matters in this culture. Another passage I want to go to now in the New Testament is 1 Corinthians 11:17–32. Paul is talking about the Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper: In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. [He’s being very sarcastic here.] So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter! For I received from the Lord what I also passed onto you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 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 [interesting phrase here] 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. What is going on here? And how does Paul connect the food of the Eucharist to the unity between persons? Usually when we think of the Lord’s Supper, as individualist American Evangelicals our focus is that it’s me and Jesus. I 76