Throughout the history of the Church there have been numerous controversies surrounding pictures and images of Christ and the saints, but most Christians, including the Reformers, have insisted that this meal is an authorized image of Christ. But it is not bread and wine by themselves which consists of this picture, and that is why they rightly objected to the veneration of the elements as we would as well. The body of Christ is not found in the existence of bread in a sanctuary or wine in a chalice. The apostle says that we are to discern Christ in the communion, in the thankful sharing of the bread and wine. As we celebrate with thanksgiving together and hand one another the bread and the wine and tell one another the gospel of forgiveness, that is the body of Christ. That is the image of Christ we are supposed to see and discern. This is a much different sort of icon than the ones commonly honored in other traditions, and we do this because God told is in the very beginning how he wanted to be pictured. He pictured himself in humanity when he created them. He composed his own icons in Adam and Eve, in the image of God he created them, male and female he created them. God created humans to be his images in the world. He re-created us in his grace to be conformed to the image of Christ, the perfect picture of the invisible God. This image and picture is one that is not static. It is not lifeless like stone, paper, or precious metals. It is alive. It moves, it breathes, it acts, and it creates just like God. This is what the Triune God looks like. As nice as pictures of dead saints may be, they are lifeless; they have hands but they cannot hand you the bread of life. As beautiful as an ancient icon may be, it is lifeless; it has a mouth, but it cannot tell you that your sins are forgiven through the blood of Christ. Do not imagine some Jesus picture in your head. You donít need to do that. God reveals himself to us here and now, week after week. He says, do you want to know what I am like? Do you want to see what the Trinity is like? Then open your eyes, open your mouths, and rejoice together. You are surrounded by true images of God, images with hands and feet and mouths and ears. Our God is alive and well and acts and breathes and speaks and hears, and we are the living icon of that God; we are the image of the invisible God as we make up the body of Christ, animated as we are by His Spirit. So as we celebrate this feast together honor the images of Christ around you: honor your mothers, honor your fathers, honor your brothers and sisters and roommates and neighbors and honor your children.
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