It is Trinity (as I start writing this post) so it's time to remind ourselves of Quicunque vult or "The Creed of Athanasius" (which may not have actually been written by him). In the lingo of the BCP:
"Whosoever will be saved : before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholick Faith
Which Faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled : without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.
And the Catholick Faith is this : That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity.
Now this is discomforting for those of us, including myself, who worry about a "propositional" approach to faith because we do not see much in the NT which says we will be judged for what beliefs we hold, other than a basic belief that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Except in the last words of the last sentence is a clue as to why this creed is correct in what it says: if we believe that Jesus is more, much more than a teacher or prophet or even both, that in his divinity-and-humanity lies our salvation - Jesus is the One who identifies with us as humans and who as God in flesh is able to redeem us from our sinfulness, then not only are we saved, but we also incipiently believe what the "Catholick faith" is about, as spelled out in precise and comprehensive terms by this creed.
I see a debate is breaking out for the umpteenth time in TEC over baptism in relation to communion, or, Can an unbaptized person receive communion? Bosco Peters has the wrap here.
My own contribution is to cite three sentences from an Anglican hero I haven't mentioned here for a while.
Richard Hooker. Who else?!
"The grace which we have by the holy Eucharist doth not begin but continue life. No man therefore receiveth this sacrament before Baptism, because no dead thing is capable of nourishment. That which groweth must of necessity first live." (Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity Book V Section LXVII (1)).
I think that's a No.
While with Hooker, my eyes doth (see how influential the man is on my writing) glance a little further on in the above section LXVII to see what he says about the eucharist.
I really, really like the way in which he eschews getting stuck on either consubstantiation or transubstantiation while, naturally, avoiding Zwinglianism. A few sentences ...
(re Zwingli) "... that men should account of this sacrament but only as a shadow, destitute , empty and void of Christ." [ LXVII (2)]
(re an overview of the "contentions" about where Christ is) "... I can see on all sides at the length to a general agreement concerning that which alone is material, namely the real participation of Christ and of life in his body and blood by means of this sacrament" [ LXVII (2)]
"I wish that men would more give themselves to meditate with silence what we have by the sacrament, and less to dispute of the manner how?" [ LXVII (3)]
"The bread and the cup are his body and blood because they are causes instrumental upon the receipt whereof the participation of his body and blood ensueth." [ LXVII (5)]
"The real presence of Christ's most blessed body and blood is not therefore to be sought for in the sacrament, but in the worthy receiver of the sacrament." [ LXVII (6)]
This last point, incidentally, very much drives forward one of our own (ACANZP) key statements in our most frequently used eucharistic prayer (NZPB, 423):
"Send your Holy Spirit that these gifts of bread and wine which we receive may be to us the body and blood of Christ ..." (my bold).
Also (NZPB, 467):
"By your Holy Spirit this bread and wine will be for us the body and blood of Christ" (my bold).
Now, I have previously, in line with others, thought of Hooker as promoting a "receptionist" view of the eucharist: the bread and the wine of eucharist become the body and blood of Christ when received by us. And, above, we do find the word "receipt" and "receiver" used (the citations from LXVII (5) and (6) respectively).
But, I wonder if a better description of Hooker's approach would be "participationist" (LXVII (2) and (5) above respectively)?
That is, through the sacrament of communion, we who believe in Jesus and receive the sacrament, participate in the life of Christ, in the body and blood of Christ, the emphasis falling not on what we receive (i.e. ingest and digest material food and drink) but on the connection that food and drink make with the life of Christ. It is that life, the real life of Christ, which nurtures our life in Christ.
Does this make 1 Corinthians 10:16 the most important New Testament verse for our understanding of the sacrament of the eucharist? (NRSV=REB=NJB: "sharing"; NIV "participation".)