What happens when we participate in the Eucharist, the Great Thanksgiving of the Church? Just about every tradition and denomination has its own particular understanding of what happens to the bread and the wine when the Church celebrates the Holy Communion. The Catholic Church believes that the bread and the wine is “abolished” and and becomes the actual body and blood. Lutherans say that God’s presence is coexistent with the bread and the wine.
But we Anglicans are different. It’s not what happens to the bread and wine that is of the most importance, but what happens to us. It’s God promise for us, it’s God’s willingness to be for us.
Check this out from Richard Hooker, Book V from The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity:
“This hallowed food, through concurrence of divine power, is in verity and truth unto faithful receivers instrumentally a cause of that mystical participation, whereby, as I make Myself wholly theirs, so I give them in hand an actual possession of all such saving grace as My sacrificed Body can yield, and as their souls do presently need.”
Each and every day I am more and more convinced that my soul desperately needs that mystical participation with the Almighty.