This quote is from Ben Witherington’s book Making a Meal of It: Rethinking the Theology of the Lord’s Supper (Waco: Baylor University Press, 2007):
What have we learned in our examination of Paul’s discussion of meals, and in particular the Lord’s Supper? Firstly, the Lord’s Supper was taken in homes. This is clear not only from 1 Corinthians 11 but also probably from Acts 2, and furthermore, it was partaken of as a part of a larger fellowship meal. Secondly, Paul is trying to distinguish the Christian meal and its protocol from the usual socially stratifying customs of a pagan meal. The Christian meal was to depict the radical leveling that the kerygma proclaimed – whoever would lead must take on the role of the servant, and all should be served equally. This social leveling was meant to make clear that there was true equality in the body of Christ. All were equal in the eyes of the Lord, and they should also be viewed that way by Christians, leading to equal hospitality.
Thirdly, the Lord’s Supper was clearly not just a reenactment of the Passover meal, not least because of its prospective element, looking forward and pointing forward to the return of Christ. For that matter, the Last Supper itself was no ordinary Passover meal, for Christ modified both the elements and their interpretation so they would refer to him and his coming death. There seems to be no historical evidence that early Christians used the Lord’s Supper as an occasion to dramatize either the Passover or the Last Supper. Instead, the ceremony was incorporated into a larger and different context, that of the Christian fellowship, or agape, meal. (pg. 60-61)
What do you think of Witherington’s conclusions? Is it important that followers of Jesus continue to share the Lord’s Supper as the early believers did as described in Scripture? Why or why not? If so, then in what ways?