Real Food and Real Drink
When the ancient Israelites were wandering in the wilderness after their deliverance from bondage in Egypt, God sustained them in miraculous ways, including raining bread from heaven for them. When the Israelites first received this bread, they were filled with wonder about it; they even called it manna, which is ancient Hebrew for "what is it?".
Throughout history, Christians have asked much the same question about the food and drink that nourishes our faith--the Lord's Supper. They read the Scripture passages where Jesus calls us to eat his flesh and drink his blood, and they asked each other, "what, exactly, does our Saviour mean by that?".
In the times before the Reformation, a very literal interpretation of Jesus's words held sway--the bread and wine of the meal were thought to be literally, physically transformed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, this filled many Christians with dread about Communion. They were afraid to partake in case some sin lingering in their lives, or even some small mistake at the wrong time (spilling the wine, for example) would bring God's wrath down upon them. In a bitter irony, they ended up starving their souls in an effort to protect their souls. The Reformers realized that this was a serious mistake, and they sought to free Christians from bondage to fear and lead them back to the table of the Lord.
To see this sermon in the context of the larger entire worship service, please open this bulletin.