Story based on themes of 1 Corinthians 11:17-34

(c) Copyright 2004 Rev. Bill Versteeg

Tim and Sarah and Ronald loved Grandma. Their father's mother, Mrs. Blais Johnson lived only 30 kilometres away in a small town just north of Trenton, Ontario. Every few weeks they would go to visit her.  This time she had invited them to come over for supper together, especially since their father was out of town.

The kids were really looking forward to this dinner. After all, grandma's cooking always tasted good, at least it was different from mom's cooking. But Mom was not looking forward to this dinner out. Oh, she loved Grandma's cooking too. But sometimes it was so much easier to stay at home. And sometimes her children really frustrated her. Tim had a hollow leg - he could eat enough for five people and still be hungry - everybody wondered where it all went. And Ronald was fussy. If it looked different, he refused to eat it. Certainly he would cause a scene when he saw what Grandma had to serve. And Sarah, well, it wasn't her eating that was the problem. She was growing up, and there were times when she could get very grouchy, enough to cause fights, keep arguments going for a long long time. And if all this was not bad enough, sitting still in a small condominium was a skill they had never learned at their acreage on the shores of lake Ontario. That wouldn't have been so bad, except that Grandma had a lot of little keepsakes, a china doll, 45 year vases that were given to her with flowers by her husband when she was first married, pictures in frames, not to mention her crystal and china. Not the best place to take three bullish children ready to romp anywhere they could.

Mom's fears came from experience. The last time they had had dinner at Grandma's house had felt like a total disaster. Things started out OK, but when dinner time came, they all discovered that Tim's appetite was bigger that Grandma's cooking habit. Before they noticed, Tim had selfishly filled his plate so full that there was hardly enough for the rest of the family, let alone Grandma. She obviously was not used to feeding famished kids anymore. And when Sarah noticed that Tim was hogging all the food, she became angry, angry at Tim for taking too much, angry at Mom for taking them to Grandma's, and believe it or not, even angry at Grandma for not cooking enough. It became quite a scene when Ronald refused to eat the little that was given him. Mom was embarrassed. Grandma understood - but you could see she was a little perturbed. It was hardly a happy evening for anyone, and everyone was glad when it was over.

And now they were going to Grandma's again.

Do you think they should go to Grandma's for dinner again?

Yes, they chose to go to dinner again, but this time it came with some very clear instructions.

The first instructions went to Tim who seemed to have started everything with his ravenous appetite last time. "Tim - before we go to Grandma's you eat all you can right after school. Don't you dare go and hog all the food for yourself this time. When we go to Grandma's, we go to visit her, not clean out her cupboards." Tim got the point. When they went to visit Grandma, she deserved more respect that he had given her last time. This time, even though Grandma's cooking was great, he would fill his bottomless pit before he got there. Then he would find it a little easier to mind his manners at the table, and give Grandma some proper respect.

The next instructions went to Sarah. "Sarah, I know you are grouchy sometimes. But for the sake of all of us, you have to watch what you say. Sometimes it is important to fight, but please, please, do not start a fight at Grandma's! Remember, she is there. Respect her presence by working hard to get along with your brothers!" For her to, the message was clear. When Grandma is watching, watch your behaviour. She was at least glad that Mom gave her permission to fight once and a while , she seemed to need that with two brothers always trying to dig into her territory at home.

The final instructions went to Ronald, the fuss budget when it came to food. "Ronald, were going to Grandma's tonight, and I would like you to try the food that she cooks even though it doesn't look or taste exactly like what you are used to. Remember, Grandma made it ready just for you to enjoy, maybe it will taste very good and it might help you grow up healthy and strong like Tim and Dad." Ronald grumbled as he pulled on his winter boots one of the last times this winter season. Mom was ready for the worst though. She had snuck into her purse a little doggy bag of food from home, just in case Ronald choose not to eat something he did not recognize.

And so they together went to Grandma's house for dinner, Tim a little less hungry, Sarah a little more careful, and Ronald, well, Ronald was Ronald and Mom just had to be ready for him.

When they got to Grandma's house, before they ate, Grandma read from the bible, like she always did, and she read a passage that sounded like it was a description of Tim and Sarah's family. Listen carefully - after Grandma reads the passage - maybe you can point out some of the things that were the same in the story.

Passage on which story is based:

17 But now when I mention this next issue, I cannot praise you. For it sounds as if more harm than good is done when you meet together. 18 First of all, I hear that there are divisions among you when you meet as a church, and to some extent I believe it. 19 But, of course, there must be divisions among you so that those of you who are right will be recognized!

20 It's not the Lord's Supper you are concerned about when you come together. 21 For I am told that some of you hurry to eat your own meal without sharing with others. As a result, some go hungry while others get drunk. 22 What? Is this really true? Don't you have your own homes for eating and drinking? Or do you really want to disgrace the church of God and shame the poor? What am I supposed to say about these things? Do you want me to praise you? Well, I certainly do not!

23 For this is what the Lord himself said, and I pass it on to you just as I received it. On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took a loaf of bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." 25 In the same way, he took the cup of wine after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant between God and you, sealed by the shedding of my blood. Do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it." 26 For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are announcing the Lord's death until he comes again.

27 So if anyone eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord unworthily, that person is guilty of sinning against the body and the blood of the Lord. 28 That is why you should examine yourself before eating the bread and drinking from the cup. 29 For if you eat the bread or drink the cup unworthily, not honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God's judgment upon yourself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died.

31 But if we examine ourselves, we will not be examined by God and judged in this way. 32 But when we are judged and disciplined by the Lord, we will not be condemned with the world. 33 So, dear brothers and sisters, when you gather for the Lord's Supper, wait for each other. 34 If you are really hungry, eat at home so you won't bring judgment upon yourselves when you meet together.

I'll give you instructions about the other matters after I arrive.

Did you notice anything the same?

1. The Corinthian Christians were fighting - it irritated the Lord

2. The Corinthian Christians were over eating while others went hungry - they were told to eat at home.

3. The Corinthian Christians were told to partake of the meal that Jesus had prepared for them, his body broken, his blood shed, but as they did, they were to remember who it was that was giving them the meal and feeding them. Watch your behaviour and your manners, look at your own heart so that God will not get angry with you when you partake of the Lord's supper.

That evening, Mom, and Tim and Sarah and Ronald had a good meal with Grandma. They enjoyed the food (except for Ronald, it would take some time for him to learn to respect what Grandma had to give him. He was still stubborn on that issue). This time when they came home, they looked forward to the next time they could go to Grandma's to eat, not so much because of the food, much more, just because of the pleasure of her company.

Scriptures quoted from:  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1996.

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