Baptists think of the Lord's Supper as an ordinance, a command given by Christ at the Last Supper, "Do this in memory of me." (Lk 22:19) To them, the Lord's Supper, recalls the events and has only symbolical significance. The Anglican Church which broke away from the Catholic Church had priests who believed in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist but in time it became symbolical as stated in the 1571, 39 Articles of Religion. (Article XXVIII) "The body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the Supper, only after an heavenly and spiritual manner. And the means whereby the body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper is Faith."
The Baptist who broke from the Anglican Church adopted this view. In a way Baptists are right in considering the Lord's Supper symbolical because each church selects its own minister who cannot trace his descent from the Apostolic Church as a priest ordained by a Bishop. The minister does not have the authority of a priest to change the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. They can only celebrate the symbolical meaning of the Eucharist which calls to mind the death and resurrection of Christ. Despite the fact that they have not maintained the proper reality of the Eucharist due to the absence of Orders, "Nevertheless when they commemorate His death and resurrection in the Lord's Supper, they profess that it signifies life in communion with Christ and look forward to His coming in glory. Therefore the teaching concerning the Lord's Supper, the other sacraments, worship, the ministry of the Church, must be subject of the dialogue." (Second Vatican Council 1962-1965, II. Separated Churches and Ecclesial Communities in the West )
Consider the following:
there question remains. Are Christ's words at the Last Supper to be taken
John 6 deals with this question.
"I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this
bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the
life of the world.
The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, How can this man give us [his] flesh to eat?
Jesus said to them, Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you." (Jn 6:51-53)
The Jews understood that Jesus was not speaking metaphorically. They never asked the "how" when he compared himself to a "door" or "vine". But instead of answering "how this might be", he reinstates it even more forcefully as if to say, you must believe it even if it is beyond your understanding. As a consequence, many of the disciples stopped following Jesus.
then said to the Twelve, 'Do you also want to leave?'
Simon Peter answered him, Master, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life." ((Jn 6:67-68)
The Apostles also failed to understand Jesus but chose to follow him in the belief that Jesus knew, as the Son of God, what he was talking about.
The belief in the sacredness of the Eucharist is exemplified in the account of St. Tarcisius, a 3rd century Roman Martyr.
Tarcisius was a 12 year old boy who served Mass in the Catacombs of Rome. Usually a deacon carries Communion to those Christians condemned to die. But on that day there was no deacon so Tarcisius was sent currying the "Holy Mysteries". On the way he was stopped by a group of pagan boys who wanted him to play with them. He refused. They noticed he was carrying something and demanded to see it. When he refuses they savagely beat him to almost death. A Christian tried to carry his body back to the Catacombs but he died on the way. Tarcisius is buried in the cemetery of St. Callistus