First day of the mean bean challenge is over! Four more days to go!
Today I have been thinking about this picture ‘equality versus equity’ (found on Twitter) and about 1 Corinthians 11:27-29:
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 eat and drink judgment on themselves. (NIV)
Sometimes these verses are used as a reason not to let a child or even a new believer share in Communion. When I was a child, I was told that because I couldn’t properly understand sin, I could not properly examine myself as Paul seems to suggest in these three verses. As an adult, I still hear well-meaning adults use these verses as a reason for children not to share communion. No one wants to watch a child ‘drink judgement on themselves.’ I understand that.
However I would like to offer a different perspective. I am wondering if something else is going on here. In fact, I doubt children were on Apostle Paul’s mind at all when he wrote these words in his letter to the church in Corinth. I think something else was going on, which I will explore further as this week progresses.
As I have been eating my plain porridge and beans and rice today, I’ve been thinking a lot about barriers that are put up. I mean, giving people food could be equality or equity depending on how it is done. But what about the barriers?
Tonight I sat down for a family meal, and I was the only one eating plan beans and rice. Everyone else had a choice. I did not. I had a barrier to what I could access to eat. For me, yes, my ‘barrier’ is self-imposed. My choice. However for so many people, the barriers between them and food are all too real. There are systemic barriers in place that keep so many people in poverty.
Maybe the Apostle Paul was trying to remind the good people of Corinth Church that Jesus broke down the barriers between God and people, that He dealt with the systemic barriers? “So why did they insist on keeping the barriers in the way they treated each other? Everyone ought to examine themselves!” Paul cries.
But more on that tomorrow, as I reflect on the systemic barriers at work in Paul’s day and in ours.
Thank you for joining me on this journey.