Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Lord's Supper

In theory, the Supper is the heart of Christian worship. In practice, it’s become a platform for our biases and worldly thinking. Don’t think so? Consider the words we use to describe it. Finding fault with terms like “transubstantiation” and “consubstantiation” is easy. But do we, the Bible-things-by-Bible-names crowd, consider our own language? How many times have you heard a brother stand at table and give thanks for “this loaf which represents his body” and “this fruit of the vine, which represents his blood”? If Jesus ever said “represents,” none of the Gospels record it. “Oh,” you protest, “the bread couldn’t really be his body, because his body was sitting there holding the bread. It only represents his body.”

Listen. Jesus was no idiot, and neither were the apostles. They all knew he was sitting there, but the Lord didn’t mention symbolism or real presence or any other philosophical category. Jesus simply said, “This is my body.” For some reason Christians feel the need to explain what he meant, and that's where our biases creep in. But Jesus didn’t command us to explain, or even to understand. He simply said, “Take, eat. This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

(c) Copyright 2007, A. Milton Stanley

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