Paul’s instructions regarding how the saints are to take this meal include the familiar phrase teaching us to “discern the Lord’s body.” This instruction has unfortunately been too often taken as a permission slip to invite a black hole of introspection into our hearts. But introspection is no savior. When we collectively give way to an unhealthy self-examination, we’re blinded to seeing what Paul explicitly commanded us to see.
If we’re doing this right, Paul’s instruction actually means that we should be looking through these signs and beholding Christ here in these plain elements. Christ’s body broken, and His blood spilled proves that God’s wrath for your sin has been satisfied. All that remains to you is God’s favor. Get over yourself. Stop staring inward. And look up.
As you look heavenward, to the Father’s right hand, you see grace descending from Christ our head to fill the entirety of His body, the church. And thus, we’re brought to look around. Here is Christ’s body, in the midst of these gathered saints. The border of that body isn’t confined to this building alone, or this or that group alone. Christ’s body is comprised of all the faithful saints, here & there, past & future, young & old.
Discerning Christ’s body isn’t an invite to stare at ourselves in Narcissus’ pool. Looking away from self & to Christ enables you to rightly discern those who are born of God. Indeed, John also makes this point “If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him (1Jo 2:29).” As we feast on the Word, we’re drawn together with those begotten by the Word. All because we’ve heard & believed the Living Word. Therefore look to Christ here on this table. Look up to Christ enthroned. Look to Christ in His body which surrounds you.
So come in faith and welcome to Jesus Christ…