One of the most influential things I read during my seminary education was John Calvin’s description of the Lord’s Supper. Calvin believed that, although it is physically impossible for the body of Jesus to be literally present on altars across the world, Christ is indeed truly present in the meal.
Calvin believed that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, those with faith are lifted into the presence of Jesus Christ, who resides in heaven at the right hand of the Father. Like on Star Trek, our spirits are beamed up before the Lord, who feeds us with grace by his own hand. It is called suprasubstantiation. Let’s say it together: Supra-Sub-Stanc-Ee-A-Shun:) Supra meaning above or beyond and substantiation meaning embody or to give material form. Above and beyond material form. The Lord’s Supper is a suprasubstantial encounter with Christ, all those in the world participating, and all the saints in heaven. Imagine that for a moment. Wow. A truly heavenly meal.
For an excellent, lyrical explanation of suprasubstantiation listen to hip hop artist Through Hymn:
It is my belief that the same thing happens when we pray: the Spirit transports our spirits before Christ in heaven. Prayer beams us up to Christ. When we pray, we are very much being lifted in spirit into the presence of our God. Prayer is a suprasubstantial encounter with Christ and all those praying on earth and in heaven. Whoa. A heavenly encounter.
This encounter can change us forever.
If prayer is the way we encounter Christ, then it can also be a way we can share a heavenly, suprasubstantial encounter with Christ with others. Rather than talking to others about the God we know through Christ and what he can do for their lives, why not take them directly to Christ through prayer?
Haven’t you had a day when you wanted more than anything to be airlifted right out of this world? Your body hurts, your heart hurts, your head hurts, you need grace, comfort, mercy, love. Pray. Then recognize that everybody else on this earth needs the same thing. Pray with them.