A Performative Act

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A Performative Act

The words of institution for this Supper are a performative act. They are not magic words that change the bread and wine into anything else, but yet, at the same time, we really do partake of the Lord Jesus by faith.

That it is not a miracle can be seen in the fact that Paul argues that the same thing happens when someone participates in idolatrous worship. He partakes with demons, Paul says.

When a new president takes the oath of office, there is no magic there, and neither are his words a mere reminder. And yet, before he says those words, on the appointed day, he is not the president. After he does, he is. It is a performative act. Before a man says certain words and puts a ring on a certain woman’s finger, he is just a fiancé. Afterwards, he is a husband, and there was no magic done. It is a performative act.

In the same way, when I hold up the bread and say “this is the body of Christ, broken for you,” and you receive it, you are partaking of Christ. If this were a Black Mass, you would be partaking of the devil. This is the power of the performative word.

God created the heavens and the earth through the power of His Word. We were created in His image, and God gave us the authority of words. We see this when our great grandfather named the animals. Naming is far more than simply attaching reminders, post-it notes, or labels.

And when this authoritative word is spoken and heard in faith, and the Spirit of God is present as He promised to be, all things in heaven and on earth are united, and we are strengthened by grace in our pilgrimage by partaking of Christ.

So come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.