Trans-substantiation seems to be one of those Roman oddities (well, odd now, anyway) that is perfectly calculated to get the panties of literal-minded Protestants all twisty-like. So naturally, as such, I like it (though it doesn’t make a lick of sense to me, no pun intended). I’ve never liked the “mere memorial” approach to the Supper either, and always accepted the “mystery” of the “real presence” of Christ in the bread and wine without His being there in substance as a given.
But, reading through the Gospels, I don’t see any reason for anything other than a metaphorical understanding of Christ’s words: “This is my body, broken for you…This is my blood of the new covenant, shed for many for the remission of sins”. In this instance, the statement is clearly metaphorical: Why should it be anything else? The significance of the bread and wine (which is enormous, certainly) is fulfillment of the Passover meal and an establishment of this new covenant; it is metaphoric and symbolic. Is there any Scriptural necessity for this being non-metaphorical, as against the obvious and normal use of language? Why the necessity for some sort of real presence at all? Am I missing something obvious?
Are not metaphors, signs, and memorials powerful and efficacious in themselves? Does claiming that Joshua’s stone did or didn’t have ears in any way weaken or strengthen the power of that symbol to convict and condemn a backsliding Israel? Is it even a relevant point of discussion?