St. Paul communicates a warning in having things in life in two ways: “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Or are we provoking the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?” (1 Corinthians 10:14 – 11:1 NRSV).
Paul warned his friends in Corinth against the worship of idols. He specifically cautioned them about eating food sacrificed to idols by pagans saying, “They sacrifice to demons and not to God.” In drinking from the cup and eating the bread Paul reminds us that we share in the body and blood of Christ and we become one in Him. Likewise he explains that eating the sacrifices to demons makes one a partner with the demons.
There is a parallel here in our age. We have created a whole new set of idols and we drag up sacrifices to them. In the dragging up, we partake of the sacrifices and we too become partners with demons. This is not to say that certain things that we do are inherently bad, but they become obstacles to our spiritual growth when we partake of them to the exclusion of our spiritual nourishment.
You can name your own idols and sacrifices to them. An unbalanced focus on work, money and wealth, food, entertainment, sports, gambling, mood-altering substances, sex, and power and influence, can become exclusive to our spiritual needs and pull us away from God. The more we have advanced in science and technology, the easier it has become to have whatever we want. Things are more at our fingertips. The blessing and curse of the Internet is a good example. We can find whatever we want there, right from our homes. In a way we are being tested more than were the ancients. We can get into mischief at any time of the day or night.
God’s concern should be our concern: That in our focusing on idols and partaking in and of sacrifices to them, we become estranged from Him. We become partners with demons instead of becoming one with God through Christ’s sacrifice for us.
This being experienced through the “cup of blessing” and “the bread that we break”. Paul again reminds us that, “The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.”