At the Lord’s Table whenever I hear someone say that the eating of the bread and the drinking of the cup are merely symbolic, I cringe.
The Apostle Paul certainly didn’t think so.
Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? –1 Corinthians 10:16 NIV (emphasis added)
I’m convinced that a correct understanding of what Paul means by “a participation in” will reveal that the elements of the Lord’s Supper are no empty signs. And I do not believe that Paul is teaching that (1) the bread and the bread become the actual body and blood of Christ, or (2) that Christ is physically present in, with, and under the bread and the cup. (3) Rather, I believe that Paul is saying that when we eat the bread and drink the cup by faith, we are indeed “participating in” the body and blood of Christ. And with Calvin let’s admit to the mystery of the Supper, which is “a secret too sublime for my mind to understand or words to express. I experience it rather than understand it.”
So we must reject that spirit-matter dualism which says that the elements are merely symbolic.