Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota

Environmental Stewardship Commission (MEESC) Lectionary Reflection All Years, Maundy Thursday, New Testament Lesson

1 Corinthians 11:23-26 [27-32]

For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.

[Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For all who eat and drink without discerning the body, eat and drink judgment against themselves. For this reason many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.]

Reflection on 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 [27-32] by John Gibbs, PhD

The terms "receive" and "hand on" are technical terms for the transmission, now in written form, of earlier oral tradition. The Apostle Paul's transmission of the tradition about the institution of the Lord's Supper builds on all the themes outlined above. The sacrifice was made for the sake of this Community that we call Church, and that was done for the sake of the cosmic totality within which the Church lives..

No sooner is the sacrament observed than its consequences are expected within the congregation, as verses 27-32 make clear. To drink from this cup, and to eat from this loaf of bread, is to "be answerable" for living in accordance with that sacrament (11:27). The sacrament aims toward our "discerning the body," that is, the Church (11:29). Special interests are disallowed, self aggrandizement has no place. "The new covenant" reorders all our relationships, those between ourselves within the Church, and those between the Church and the creatures among which the Church is called to live as the good neighbor.

To Reflections on the other readings for Maundy Thursday:
Old Testament Exodus 12:1-14a
Psalm Psalm 78:14-20,23-25
New Testament 1 Corinthians 11:23-26(27-32)
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Gospel John 13:1-15 or Luke 22:14-30

John Gibbs, a retired theologian, attends Trinity Episcopal Church, Park Rapids, MN. He originally wrote this reflection in 2001. John and we welcome your comments. Please address your comments or additional reflections to John Gibbs or any MEESC member, or mail them to:
MEESC Holy Trinity Church Box 65 Elk River, MN 55330-0065 USA

The MEESC assumes that all correspondence received is for publication on this web site. If your comments are not for publication, please so note on your correspondence. The MEESC reserves the right to decide which items are included on the web site.

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