I thought I'd offer some rather random thoughts on the Lord's Supper:
Firstly, how should we interpret the language of "participation" 1 Corinthians 10:16? ("The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?" ESV) It is quite interesting to look further down 1 Corinthians 10 to verse 18, "Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar?" (ESV) The NT practise of eating bread and wine is analogous to the Israelis eating at the altar in that it too is a "participation". Fee notes that Paul is "referring to the meals prescribed in Deut. 14:22-27." (p470) The Jews actually ate portions of the sacrificed food. Yet Fee goes on to make the claim that, since "there is not the remotest hint in Judaism that the sacrificial food represented God in some way" (p470) we can safely discount any sacramental reading of this text. Now I'm not fit to lace Fee's exegetical boots, but surely he's missing the woods for the trees? Could not this Old Covenant eating of the sacrifice be a shadow or type of New Covenant believers actually eating of the bloody NT sacrifice? Far from militating against a sacramental reading, perhaps verse 18 actually strengthens such a reading?
Secondly, isn't it weird that in 1 Corinthians, the only place where Paul talks about the Lord's Supper, the great Apostle makes no qualifying statements regarding the efficacy of the Eucharist? Here's his big chance to say, "Hey you guys and gals, culturally influenced by superstition and mindless paganism; don't read too much into the bread and wine - they're merely symbols." On the contrary, Paul tells them that through the sacraments they "participate" in the body and blood of Christ. "Ah but" interjects Mr Baptist Pastor, "But nothing" answers Paul. In fact, Paul goes further to say that if you eat the Supper without "discerning the body of Christ", you eat and drink judgement on yourself (11:29, 30). As Oor Wullie would say, "Help ma boab!"
Thirdly, while this may or may not appeal to evangelicals, a sacramental reading is the majority report in church history. The Augsburg Confession gives an example of an exposition of John 15 by Cyril of Alexandria (376-444):
Nevertheless, we do not deny that we are joined spiritually to Christ by true faith and sincere love. But that we have no mode of connection with Him, according to the flesh, this indeed we entirely deny. And this, we say, is altogether foreign to the divine Scriptures. For who has doubted that Christ is in this manner a vine, and we the branches, deriving thence life for ourselves? Hear Paul saying 1 Cor. 10:17; Rom. 12:5; Gal. 3:28: We are all one body in Christ; although we are many, we are, nevertheless, one in Him; for we are, all partakers of that one bread. Does he perhaps think that the virtue of the mystical benediction is unknown to us? Since this is in us, does it not also, by the communication of Christ's flesh, cause Christ to dwell in us bodily? And a little after: Whence we must consider that Christ is in us not only according to the habit, which we call love, but also by natural participation, etc.Fourth, as John Thomson noted in the comments to the first post on this subject, isn't it peculiar that those churches with a supposedly "lower" view of the sacraments (e.g. Brethren - weekly) tend to celebrate the Lord's Supper more frequently than those with the "higher" view (e.g. Presbyterians, Lutherans - monthly)? Why so?
These are just some rambling thoughts. Although I am obviously leaning towards a sacramental view of the supper, I consider my view on this one a work in progress.