I read an article recently about the incarnation in which the author spoke of its centrality in the Christian life – but then went on to assert the importance of the belief that Christ becomes the actual bread and wine of the Lord’s Table.
I was disappointed that what would have been an excellent article on the incarnation, diverted into an attempt to uphold a dogma and religious distraction. The point of the incarnation is that the Real Presence lives in you and is woven into you. Eating the Bread and drinking the wine illustrates what is already the Reality of a life in Jesus. In the incarnation we are one substance with Christ. This is our belonging, our wholeness and our holiness. It’s our Daily Bread.
Insisting that Christ becomes the bread and the wine is a distraction.* It’s a religious stumbling block that draws attention away from the Reality that is Christ to the symbol of that Reality which is the Lord’s Table. There is no life in the symbol. The life is in the life.
When Paul said. ‘Reality is Christ’ he was making a personal and a cosmic statement. The application of this Reality to all of us is the vicarious humanity of Jesus.
A sacralisation of a rite or any element of religion distracts us from the un-adulterated limitless life that is Christ come in us. John calls this Christ come in our flesh and bluntly attributes dilutions of this to the spirit of anti-christ. Christ as one substance with us as human beings is not an add-on to the Christian life. It is the Christian life.
The ‘out-sourcing’ of the Real Presence of God to religion as a generality or to a rite that seems iconic to the identity of a community of faith, dilutes the Christ and denies the Believer the sustenance that is theirs. In this situation malnutrition is our normal Christian life.
The attempted making of a case for transubstantiation is redundant given that Christ is directly and un-dividedly in us. This distraction is similar to the insistence that the Sabbath Day is our rest when it’s Christ Himself who is Our Rest, our peace and our life. Such pieties may appear harmless in themselves but they actually leech Christ from our being. Leech, dilute and insulate us from Him because they are more of us and less of Him. As Jesus said, ‘The Spirit is life. The flesh counts for nothing.’
Irenaeus of Lyons succinctly put it, ‘The glory of God is the human person fully alive.’ Alive because His Spirit is expressed in your body, your soul and your being.
* These kinds of distractions have more to do with the human insistence that we are in some way in control of the ministry of salvation when the life that creates new life is entirely in Christ.