What Protestant Christians (Should) Believe About the Lord’s Supper

Part XII of our series on Sharing Your Bread

At the end of each series in .W Church (and on this blog) we take time to offer ourselves back to God in worship through the offering of Scriptures and songs which we’ve memorized, and the giving of our 70/30 tithes and offerings.

As I’ve mentioned before, this is also the time when we conduct our “AAR” (After Action Review).

Today, in addition to encouraging you to do these same things, I want to ask you to think with me more about the Lord’s Supper, especially in light of all that we’ve covered these past few weeks.

It’s important, as we partake of it, to understand what we believe about that supper as Evangelical Church Protestants. Catholics believe that the bread and wine are transformed literally into the body of Christ. That is not what we believe.

Some Lutherans (not all) believe that the bread and wine remain physically bread and wine but that the body and blood of Christ become locally present alongside the bread and wine each time we partake of it.

We Protestants believe is that it is not the bread and wine that are transformed but the meal itself.

Christ isn’t drawn back down to earth but we are drawn up into heaven to eat and drink with him there. That is, the communion meal becomes something more than just a bunch of people eating bread and drinking juice! Instead, we receive the meal as an invitation from God to dine with him in the spiritual realm even while we are in the physical realm. As we partake of it here on earth, we also partake of it in his presence in heaven. In this way, the food of which we partake endures to eternal life because our focus is drawn up and away from the flesh and toward the spirit, and we learn to trust that he will provide every good gift every moment of every day, even our daily bread.

So when we share the Lord’s Supper we need to avoid making the mistake that the crowd did in John 6.  They focused on the bread. We don’t look for him in the bread, around it, on top of it, or alongside it.

Instead, we focus on the fellowship in the meal: Christ comes and sets the table for us! We eat with him in body, soul, and spirit—simultaneously on earth and in heaven! He provides the food for the meal here on earth, as he does every time we come to the table. The bread we eat is physical and it remains physical, but if we understand “from where” it came and “to where” it points, to him who is the bread of life in heaven, then what we experience as we partake will endure to eternal life.

How else might the Work of Mercy of Sharing Your Bread impact the way we think about  the Lord’s Supper?  How else might the Lord’s Supper impact the way we think about Sharing Your Bread?

About Pastor Foley

The Reverend Dr. Eric Foley is CEO and Co-Founder, with his wife Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, of Voice of the Martyrs Korea, supporting the work of persecuted Christians in North Korea and around the world and spreading their discipleship practices worldwide. He is also the International Ambassador for the International Christian Association, the global fellowship of Voice of the Martyrs sister ministries. Pastor Foley is a much sought after speaker, analyst, and project consultant on the North Korean underground church, North Korean defectors, and underground church discipleship. He and Dr. Foley oversee a far-flung staff across Asia that is working to help North Koreans and Christians everywhere grow to fullness in Christ. He earned the Doctor of Management at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland, Ohio.
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