The Eucharist
This is my body
The Eucharist

Understanding the Lord's Supper

The Lord's Supper, one of the most important things in the Christian church, is perhaps also the most misunderstood. It is various known as "The Eucharist" {the Greek word for Thanksgiving), "Communion," "Sacrament of the Altar," and "the Lord's Supper." The meal Jesus had with his disciples the night before his death is often called "The Last Supper." But what does it all signify and what is its purpose? Christians widely debate the issue and much of the debate comes from a biased anti-Catholic framework devoid of any interest in the truth and this communal meal has been reduced to a near meaningless symbolic ritual. Some groups, such as the Salvation Army have dispensed with it altogether, while other groups do it simply because they think they should do it once in awhile but never really have any idea why. On the other side of the coin, we have perhaps some of the most misinterpreted passages from Scripture resulting in Catholic and Lutheran concepts of the Eucharist. We shall not explore all these perspectives here but aim to get at the truth of the matter.

A central issue is concerns what Jesus meant when he said,"This is my body." Four main Christian groups believed in something called "the Real resence" which means that they believe Christ himself is present in the bread and wine in a substantial way. The Roman Catholics insist the bread is changed from bread and become his body in substance and is no longer bread although it maintains the form of bread. Catholics call this understanding "Transubstantiation." The Eastern Orthodox churches hold a similar yet somewhat less stringently defined view. Lutherans deny Transubstantiation maintaining the bread is still bread and that Christ becomes present "in and with" the bread. This view is commonly called Transubstantiation. Anglicans hold a view similar to the Lutherans and Anglicans tend to hold a broader spectrum of viewpoints on this subject. While all these groups maintain the notion of "Real Presence" the debate between them primarily concerns just how Christ is present and not whether Christ is present in the Eucharist. The problem with these views is that they all presume that Jesus was intending to say that he was present in body and blood in a substantial way and all their beliefs are built upon this presumption.

On the other hand, many of the groups which formed after the 16th century Reformation, follow the "Zwinglian" view of the Lord's Supper. This view understands the bread and wine to be merely symbolic and the meal is intended only for remembrance purposes. These groups insist Jesus really meant "This [bread] represents my body." The problem with this view is that Jesus simply did not say those words and it seems very unlikely that he was speaking figuratively. Another view, primarily perceived to be Calvinistic, maintains that their is a presence but this presence is spiritual only. This view is so loaded with misconception itis difficult to understand what they really mean and many different answers are often supplied. For example, many people today, the word "spiritual" has come to mean "figurative" or "metaphorical" and what they really mean by "presence" is difficult to pin down since they fail to define their terms adequately. Not all Calvinists accept this particular view themselves which makes it even more problematic.

So what did Jesus mean by those words. When we review all the evidence, as we shall henceforth do, it appears that all the above views are dead wrong. If we look at all the evidence concerning the subject it seems highly likely that Jesus had something in view that we can call methathesis which means "change of purpose or change of function." When Jesus said "This is my body" he really meant it but he did not mean the bread had become his body in substance. In fact, he was not simply referring to his own individual body at all. The true body of Christ is his bride and at the present time they are on in purpose and function. Just as we Christians are the body of Christ in purpose and function but not in substance, so also the bread becomes the true body of Christ in purpose and function, but not in substance. And the purpose of eating the bread together is to bind together the bride of Christ as one entity.

ModeThe Body of Christ
(People of the Church}
The Body of Christ
(The Bread)
SubstanceFlesh of adam (human)earthly substance divided to eat
Purpose/Functionwalk after the flesh of adamate with earthly purpose
BaptismSharing of the Meal
Purpose/Functionwalk after spirit of Christate with divine purpose
SubstanceResurrected in spirit of Christdivine purpose ate united in substance
The Wedding Supper of the Lamb
a conversion takes place at our natural death. Jesus gathered his disciples in the Upper Room for a meal. Having broke the bread and dividing it among them he said to them, "This is my body," and passing the cup of wine he then said "This is my blood." I do believe we should accept what he says.