So I was looking at some Lutheran confirmation materials the other day. They were revision notes in a Q&A format, and in the section on the sacrament of the altar there were (as I recall) two questions on the elements in the Supper being the body and blood of Christ, but three questions on the elements still also being bread and wine.
Well, yes, indeed, that’s what we believe, but do we really have to labour the point so much? Surely the interesting bit about the Lord’s Supper is that the elements become the body and blood of Christ, not that they are also still bread and wine. The bread and wine are, so to speak, incidental to the proceedings.
It called to mind the following exchange in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader between Eustace Scrubb and the star, Ramandu:
“In our world,” said Eustace, “a star is a huge ball of flaming gas.”
“Even in your world, my son, that is not what a star is, but only what it is made of.”
That’s how I feel about the Lord’s Supper: bread and wine are not what the Supper is, but only what it is made of.
Note: a couple of responses (here and on Twitter) have made me realise that I need to make one point clearer. When I say that the bread and wine are “incidental”, I’m talking about after their consecration. I am emphatically not saying that it doesn’t matter what elements are brought to the altar in the first place.