The Holy Communion (pp. 85-87)

[The Rector said…] “Here is a book. It is so much paper, pasteboard, cloth, and ink. Yet it brings from one mind a value to thousands of minds. It is sacramental, an outward and visible sign of inward value. A book may make you cry or laugh. Really it is the author who does so. The book is the effective means of conveying truth from the mind of the author to the reader.
“So with our food. A few acres of land will sustain a man’s life. How? Does he eat the earth? No! But he prepares it and plants wheat. He gathers the wheat, grinds it into flour, bakes bread and eats the bread. The loaf has gathered up the chemical elements in the earth and air and sunlight, and conveys them to man to sustain his life. The loaf is a sacrament: it is the outward token of invisible values.
“God’s grace toward man, His love toward man, are universal. But He has established certain ways by which men may be assured of God’s favor. Jesus Christ ordained the Sacrament of Baptism by which men are incorporated into His Kingdom.
“Jesus Christ died for men. That men might receive the value of His life and death. He instituted the Sacrament of the Holy Communion.
“The consecrated bread and wine are made the very sacraments of the value created for men by the death of Christ on the Cross, and they are the very means by which the power and efficacy of His body broken and His blood shed are conveyed to each individual soul.
“Of course, he who receives them must receive them with a heart prepared to accept them for what they are. There is no magic in them. The individual must be prepared to welcome Christ, His power and love, into his life. The Bread and Wine then become the food for the soul, by which we become partakers of Christ’s most blessed Body and Blood.
“Then the sacrament, instead of being an unusual and exceptional method,” said the Doctor, “is merely the most natural method, having a counterpart in every process by which life is upbuilt.”
“That is quit true,” answered the Rector. “The exceptional element is not the method, that is, the charging of bread and wine with some further function, but the exceptional thing is the nature of the value that is conveyed by them. Christ instituted this method and pledged His word that in the Holy Communion there should be the value created by His death on the Cross for men.”
[The Episcopal Church: Its Message for Men of Today, George Parkin Atwater; New York: Morehourse-Gorham Co., 1950; 85-87.]