June 28, 2008

The Supper as a Pledge of Faithfulness

1 Corinthians 10:16-22

You cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons.
1 Corinthians 10:21


Many love songs focus on the exclusive nature of love. Often the radio brings us all kinds of singers crooning words like “You are my only one.”

It’s one of the basic rules of dating that you can’t sing “you are my only one” to more than one person at a time. And when someone tries to do that, all kinds of mistrust and despair break out.

Taking the bread and cup of the Lord’s Supper is also a pledge of exclusive faithfulness. Accepting Jesus’ nourishment means that we choose not to look for nourishment from other sources.

Yet it is easy not to take this verse seriously.

Maybe that’s partly because very few organizations today advertise that they offer a “table of demons.” But we have to realize that many of this world’s most potent institutions—in politics, business, education, entertainment, and more—urge us to take nourishment from forces that are fundamentally opposed to the reign of Jesus Christ.

This week we have explored many poetic images for the Lord’s Supper. It’s a feast of covenant renewal, remembrance, hope, discovery, unity, and proclamation. Today’s Scripture reading helps us to see that all of these things are a powerful way to tell the world that we renounce Satan and all of his empty promises.

Holy God, help us to understand that saying “yes” to you means saying “no” to every other force that calls for our allegiance. Deliver us, we pray, from all evil. Amen.

About the author — John D. Witvliet

Dr. John D. Witvliet has served as a professor at Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary for the past 11 years, as well as serving as Director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship. He and his wife, Charlotte, have four children.

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