May I Propose a Toast?

Dave Gifford

READ : 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

My memories of celebrating communion as a young convert center around the anxiety of praying fervently to repent of my sins. I did not wish to be found “unworthy” of taking the sacred elements. The church service encouraged this heavy mood, providing time for reflection and repentance in a somber ceremony.

I am not sure how one might become “worthy” of the free forgiveness celebrated in the Supper. None of us is worthy. Paul warns the Corinthians against hoarding all the food at the church potluck, thus jeopardizing their unity in Christ. We have misunderstood Paul and have created a barrier to the table of the Lord by implying that only the “worthy” may approach. Thus we exclude the very sinners who need the grace that the Lord’s Supper represents. Those who partake on the basis of their own “worthiness” contradict the very heart of Christian teaching on sin and God’s gracious forgiveness.

Could we say on occasion that Jesus instituted a toast to a new covenant? The cup is a symbol of victory over evil. Should not communion services evidence that spirit? Let the cry go out: “Jesus has won! Sinners draw near! Forgiveness is ours! Begin the celebration! Come to the table! Only UN-worthy believers may approach!”

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, Teach me to celebrate and rejoice in your complete and final victory and my salvation every day of my life. Amen.