Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:2-34, Matthew 26:26-28, Romans 3:25-26
In an early episode of I Love Lucy, Lucy is pregnant, distracted, and she hasn’t fixed Ricky dinner. The poor man is irritated, miserable, and hungry. He declares his need for steak and potatoes, but with time running short, Lucy counters with a fried egg sandwich—and he scoffs at this paltry offering. At this point, my husband and I had to stop the episode and look at each other: “He literally can’t make food for himself? She’s had a busy day and he won’t accept a simpler meal?” The difference between the dinner expectations of 1952 television husbands and 2018 television husbands are surprisingly different.
The cultural expectations for the roles of men and women have changed even more dramatically since Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthians. Paul’s instructions about head coverings and spheres of authority make us a little uncomfortable. But head coverings for women were pretty normal, even as recently as 100 years ago. Just because our husbands can make their own dinner and we wear our hair in loose, glorious ringlets, doesn’t mean we’re getting it exactly right. It just means we happen to be the generation walking around right now. It doesn’t make us smarter or better equipped to appreciate authority than generations past.
Who should be making dinner? And who’s hair should be blowing in the breeze? It’s tempting for us to get caught up here in these little brambly questions but miss the important issue here of authority. Who is our authority? First, you know what my answer will be: Christ is the Lord of creation, the Lord of men, women, communities, families. All authority has been given to Him on heaven and on earth. So, if you had any adorable delusions whether the ultimate authority is your own self, or the president, or your two-year-old, put them to rest. There is one final authority.
This same Lord of all, the ultimate authority, yielded up all on our behalf, giving His very body and blood to rescue us from just condemnation.
“On the night when He was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, broke it, and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’
In the same way also He took the cup, after supper, and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
The question of authority comes down to yielding our own will to the will of someone else. When we eat and drink “in remembrance of” Him, do we truly yield our all to Him? Do we remember the glory He laid aside for us, or do we seek our own glory? When we hold back in order to honor ourselves—seeking our own will, based on our own understanding—the result is the same as it was in Corinth: divisions arise, each man seeks his own gain, and some fall to excess, while others are neglected.
He served us dinner and washed our feet, without hesitation and without reservation. And for the meal before Him, which signaled His own agonizing death, He gave thanks. Our hearts ought to be full of thanksgiving in turn, full of a desire to serve and honor others. When we see the world as Christ’s, we can make the dinner, we can love our neighbor, we can honor our husbands, we can yield to God’s will for us.