In ch.11, the emphasis in Paul’s instructions on the Lord’s Supper are 1. unity and 2. individual reflection/evaluation. In ch. 12, the emphasis is again on unity and individual responsibility, this time concerning the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Everyone has a different role, but no one is better than another and all are necessary. Unity can be very tricky to achieve, but in this part of his letter, Paul instructs believers to judge themselves (not others), do the work they were given and not worry about who is greater or less than them and to remember that they are all serving the same Lord, the same Spirit. After reading about the Eastern Orthodox Church, I learned that the traditional belief in the Orthodox Church is that the Lord’s Supper is unity and communion with the Lord. In my protestant background, I was taught that the Lord’s Supper is a time for unity and communion with each other. I find the difference fascinating and I’ve found a whole new meaning to the Lord’s Supper with the Eastern Orthodox perspective in mind.
Focusing on God and our individual relationship with him will keep us too busy for creating divisions and will break down any existing ones. These two chapters remind me of a song from camp. After typing out the lyrics (which are in the paragraph below), I realized that the song, like chapters 11 & 12, build up to the topic of chapter 13– love. Love both follows unity and fuels it. If we’re loving, we’re not doing the things that cause division (like “keeping a record of wrongs”). I’ve been asking myself for a while what I think is essential in a church family. After this study, I have added three things to my list: 1. The purpose of everything is to focus on God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, 2. The people, messages, culture, etc. challenge me to individually reflect and evaluate and not focus on what others are doing, 3. The family is full of love.
Here’s words from the song I mentioned:
“We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord. We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord. And we pray that our unity may one day be restored. And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, and they’ll know we are Christians by our love.” By: Peter Scholtes (click on “See more” to read about the song’s author).