By Chuck Sackett
Immediately before worship was to begin, a leader in the congregation dumped a boatload of complaints on the preacher. As the preacher entered the worship area, his once light spirit—which had been anticipating worship and preaching—bottomed out in a wash of questions. Instead of worshipping, he fidgeted throughout the singing, trying to get his heart and mind back on track.
He was agonizing over the complaints, frustrated by the timing, and momentarily incapable of preaching. Fortunately, Communion was served before the sermon that day. As he continued to try to settle his spirit, he felt a hand on his shoulder. A man from across the room had walked over to him to quietly ask, “Are you OK? You look really troubled. May I pray for you?”
That moment served as the turning point for the preacher. Someone saw, and cared, and acted. Someone actually spent time “discerning the body” as they sat at the table with Jesus and among his body. Instead of closing his eyes and reliving the sins of his past week, this brother looked around and saw one who was hurting and acted upon what he saw. No one else would have known the power of the moment. But the preacher has never forgotten.
The story reminds us of Paul’s instruction recorded in 1 Corinthians 11:18, 27-30, 33.
When you come together as a church, there are divisions among you. . . . Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. Everyone ought to examine themselves. . . . For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. . . . That is why many among you are weak and sick. . . . So then, my brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, you should all eat together.
So, for today, open your eyes. See the hurt, discomfort, and anxiety of those around you. Pray for them. Go to them. Touch them. Share the meal with them. As you “examine yourself,” become an agent of healing in the body.
Chuck Sackett serves as preaching minister with Madison Park Christian Church, Quincy, Illinois, and professor of preaching at Lincoln (Illinois) Christian University.