Thought I might share this snippet from the great twentieth-century Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, with my class this evening. I found it whilst doing some work for a Sermon and it struck me as quite a beautiful summary of the eucharistic offering.
"From the time of his ascension onwards [Jesus'] followers have met together to unite themselves with him in his sacrifice, by doing again what he did at this, the spiritual crisis of [his] ministry. They meet in his name, and he is in the midst of them; they are members of his body and he acts through them. Still by the hands of the priest, he takes the bread which he calls his body, breaks it and gives it. But we are that body – "very members incorporate" therein. In union with his perfect sacrifice, we offer to God "ourselves, our souls and bodies to be a reasonable, holy and living sacrifice" to him. Still we drink the cup, that his blood, his life given in sacrifice and triumphant over death, may be in us the spring of eternal life in fellowship with him. Whether or not he commanded us to use this rite, as I believe that he did, yet its significance and power consists in the fact that we do in remembrance of him what he did "in the same night in which he was betrayed," offering ourselves in the power of his self offering."
William Temple, Readings in St John's Gospel, 220