I had 2 Stump the Pastor questions last week, here’s one answer (I’ll get to the 2nd later this week):
Question: if we don’t believe in transubstantiation (the Catholic teaching that the communion elements mysteriously transform into the literal body and blood of Jesus) why do we say, “The body of Christ given to you,” “The Blood of Christ shed for you?”
Answer: Because we want people to put their faith in the truths behind the symbols. I need to hear that Jesus’ body and blood were given and shed over and over and over and over. Jesus says in John 6 that we are to eat his flesh and drink his blood. This is not to be acted out with transubstantiation, but it is a continual invitation to receive Jesus totally and completely 🙂
All that to say, I do believe Jesus is uniquely, spiritually present, in the Lord’s Supper. Not in the elements in particular, but in the gathering of the saints, with the gospel rightly preached, and the meal received in faith. The Apostle Paul instructs us in 1 Corinthians 11:28-29: “Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.” (NIV)
Jesus will be with us on Communion Sunday…let’s receive and appropriate once again His body and blood in faith.