A great deal has been written about what communion means to different groups. There are four perspectives given:
The last one, memorial, has been misunderstood as the “real absence” of Christ in communion. The second one, consubstantiation, is more accurately understood as the “real presence” of Christ at communion.
In churches that practice memorial, God is present. But, how is He present? He is a judge, looking to condemn anyone who hasn’t “examined themselves” or who might “take it in an unworthy manner”. God’s judgment, wrath, and anger are on display. The reaction of people in the congregation is to approach the table with fear and trembling.
In churches that practice real presence, Christ is present. How is He present? He offers the forgiveness of sins, mercy, grace, love and fellowship. In short, He offers Himself. He says to the sinner, “Take and eat dear sinner, for this is my body broken for you and this is my blood poured out for the remission of all of your sins.” It is a meal for the baptized so they might receive renewed mercy. People in the congregation approach the table in full awareness of their iniquity to receive mercy.