Early Church Potlucks Were Surprisingly Subversive | Sojourners

Early Church Potlucks Were Surprisingly Subversive

A Bible study on wealth, class, and the Lord’s supper.
The image shows a table from a bird's-eye-view, with a loaf of bread, a pitcher, and a fish. In the middle there is a platter with an image of the Last Supper, being cut apart by a fork.
Illustration by Matt Chase 

While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it, he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”
 — Matthew 26:26-28

CLIMBING ROCK HILLSIDES and wading across gurgling streams lined with thistles, a friend and I walked the Jesus Trail in Galilee a few years ago. After about 8 miles of vigorous hiking each day, the trail led to a hostel or home with a hot meal we shared with other travelers. Our common identification with Jesus on this journey from Nazareth to Capernaum made these bread-breaking events seem to us almost like a “Lord’s Supper”! We were strangers from different countries, but our hunger and our common passion for walking where Jesus walked drew us together.

If eating together helps create a bond between diverse people, what compelled the Apostle Paul to write these words to his house churches in the city of Corinth: “Now in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together, it is not for the better but for the worse.” (1 Corinthians 11:17)?

How does eating a bread cube and drinking a swallow of juice with other church members make things worse in the congregation? What divisions are keeping people apart from each other? Let’s dig into the context.

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