In my previous post (below) I drew attention to Richard Hooker's understanding of the real presence of Christ in respect of the sacrament of the bread and the wine: it is to be sought in the receiver and not in the sacrament itself. This (I humbly suggest) is more or less 'the Anglican line' on communion.
On this line of understanding, is it possible to 'extend communion' to congregations at which a priest is unable to be present, and what might 'reserved sacrament' mean?
I suggest that communion can be extended from one service to another where in one service bread and wine is consecrated in the prescribed orderly manner (a priest presiding over an authorised service) and in the other service the sacrament from the first service is distributed in an orderly manner according to the authorised service provided for such an occasion. According to Hooker's teaching, the bread and the wine at communion are necessary for the real presence of Christ, following the promise of Scripture, to be received by those receiving the bread-wine-become-sacrament by faith with thanksgiving. Thus the sacrament is received not as the body and the blood of Jesus but as necessary to feed on the body and blood of Jesus in our hearts 'by faith with thanksgiving'! To take the sacrament from one congregation to another, or from one congregation to a sick bed is a reasonable action to take in order to incorporate into the communion of the church those otherwise unable to be present at a communion service presided over by a priest.
'Reserved sacrament' would then be about sacrament from one service 'reserved' for later use (e.g. for home communions during the following week, for a service in an outlying centre a week later) but it would not be the subject of any veneration for, on Hooker's understanding, the bread and the wine have not become 'the' body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.
On this understanding here - undoubtedly flawed and full of shortcomings - the sacrament of the bread and the wine has a double significance: a sign of the body and blood of Christ and a sign of fellowship between one congregation and another.
With respect to the latter I make this observation: in some of our parishes I am given to understand that extended communion using reserved sacrament may take place at time intervals as great as a month from the last occasion when a priest has presided at communion. This raises the question how long the sacrament may be reserved. I suggest the answer is subjective and not objective (i.e. specifying a certain time interval): the question a parish in this kind of situation could usefully ask is this, what kind of presence, including what regularity, from our priest(s) enables our sense of communion with the remainder of the parish to be a lively experience?
Resources for Advent 3
1 day ago