Congregation Share Meal
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Congregation Share Meal
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Slaves Still Serving

The first of two problems around the congregation share meal resulted in that the wealthy would have eaten their food, and the latecomers would have little or none to eat. Geoffrey Hugo Lampe, (1912-1980 AD) a British Biblical scholar, cited a similar challenge in the ancient Greek writer Xenophon (BC 430-354) from the late 5th and early centuries BC. The word "Xenophobia" came from this root and meant, "the intense and irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries." Participants in the congregation share meal brought their own meat, fish, and vegetables, but some brought a lot, others little, each keeping their own. Socrates (BC c470-399) the classical Greek philosopher thought this destroyed fellowship at the meal and therefore, he instructed the slaves either to redistribute food baskets to all, or to distribute the food itself, so that sufficient food was placed before everyone at the shared meal.

Wealthy Eat First

Saint Paul suggested something similar, probably with the slaves still serving. 1 Corinthians 11.33 showed that Saint Paul wanted the Corinthians to eat a shared meal. The term Saint Paul used for "dinner" never refered only to bread, but also to foods that were eaten with the bread. Therefore, the verse, "if anyone is hungry, let this one eat at home" must have been interpreted in light of the previous verse "when you come together to eat, wait for one another." Saint Paul was saying that if a wealthy person had visited the baths and was hungry, let him or her eat something at home before going to the shared meal.

"Congregation Share Meal"
by Ron Meacock © 2018

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