Vs. 11, “Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman.” Paul now begins to address some issues that dealt specifically with worship in the Corinthian church. Worship is an amazing thing that should unite God’s people, but in the next few chapters, we will discover some things that were dividing. In the first half of our chapter, we see Paul deal with what has become quite a controversial passage (vs. 1-16). When we look at what was going on in a historical and cultural point of view, Paul is addressing the general customs of his day. Unfortunately, some have used this passage as a platform against the feminist movement. It was Jewish custom for women to cover their heads, but Corinth was filled with Gentiles and Greek culture. When the early church was meeting for worship, there was some controversy because some women were coming to worship with unveiled faces. Bear in mind, veiled faces were not to be condescending in the first place. Part of it was to help distinguish the men from the women. But this began to be a big issue. Looking at vs. 11 from above, we see Paul wants to make it very clear that there is no inferiority going on here. We are not bound by such a custom in our churches today. But there is a continued debate about the role of women in the church. I would like to point out vs. 5 as a very positive reference for a woman’s role in the church! Moving along to the second half of our chapter, we see Paul address some abuses in the Lord’s Supper (vs. 17-34). In the culture of Corinth, the Lord’s Supper would have looked much different than what most churches do today. They would literally share a meal in connection with remembering the Lord’s supper. It worked sort of like a potluck, they called it the Love Feast. Unfortunately, there were people that were segregating themselves from others and some even getting drunk (vs. 21)! Paul goes on to remind them why they did the Love Feast/Lord’s Supper in the first place (vs. 23-26).
Regarding application…Why Communion? Vs. 26, “For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” When I was younger in my Christian walk, communion was a pretty sober thing. In fact, I had little emotion that came out of me when I went through the motions. But, we not only remember the sacrifice of the body and blood that was shed, but we also remember the good things! Jesus will come again. Jesus is at the right hand of the Father. Communion is a proclamation of the gift of life by the cross. I have found that many churches go through the motions on Lord’s Supper. When we meet and remember Jesus, this should be something that we look forward to. I recall many emotional moments when I’ve had the privilege of remembering the Lord’s supper on special occasions (Passion week, retreats, etc.). We are absent-minded people, so let us come together in our churches and remember what Jesus did for us! And not forget that we are to share what he did for us to the world we live in!