I’m giving a concrete example of another issue in Communion today. These words of Christ are indeed important ones. These words are part of the scriptural support that many from a Roman church background give in support of transubstantiation. They have a right, and a duty, really, to take these words very seriously; but are we to take them literally?
It’s possible. But, as always, we must look at other possibilities, such as figures of speech for illustrating purposes. Figures of speech are used in scripture; metaphors and parables quite regularly. In trying to explain why Christ used such strong statements; this is My Body, this is My Blood, I’ve always known precisely what I’m trying to get across, the question was what was a good example of this language when used in metaphor.
First, it is important to point out that I do indeed take His words seriously, but I believe context, and the whole context of scripture does not support transubstantiation; I touch on Jesus’ words here in my second part in my posts on transubstantiation. But do we, as humans and as “teachers” ever employ such strong words in non-literal, analogical language? The answer is yes we do.
I was pondering over what example would be a clear one, and then it hit me…a blast from my past. I remembered seeing these commercials on TV quite regularly as a kid. Note the language that is used, along with the visuals; this is meant to make a lasting impact and give people a visual cue to go off of.
Do we have visual imagery used in conjunction with Jesus’ words; This is My Body, This is My Blood? Yep. My last post was on the Matzoh used in this instruction from Jesus. Matzoh being a visual picture of Christ’s body. The wine, red wine, is a visual of His blood. When He said these words, He held up the visual symbols.
“This is drugs.” Is that literally drugs in that pan? Of course it isn’t; it’s sizzling grease. “This is your brain…” Is that literally a person’s brain? Nope; it’s an egg. The point is this shows a perfect example of this style of language, and also shows why it is used.
Humans are very visual creatures, and it is a lot easier for us to remember things when they are “attached” to visual images. Christ knew this very well, and so, taught His disciples what He wanted done in remembrance of Him, and to show Him forth in a visual, as well as verbal way…as in the commercial, they were not to be taken literally, but figuratively.