Sacraments, you say, what are those? When I think of Sacraments, I think of sacred. Here is the definition I came away with from my class regarding what a sacrament is:
A visible sign of an inward grace.
Expression of the living presence of God
Means of grace
Physical element conveying spiritual reality
Is that what you think of when you think of communion or baptism?
A month ago or so I probably would have said no. I didn't have a great grasp of what the sacraments mean to us as Christians, but after the class I took, I really encouraged the pastors I was in class with the explain this to the people in their congregations because the sacraments are amazing, mysterious and yes...sacred and holy expressions of God's grace.
I think sometimes we may all be guilty of 'going through the motions' when it comes to communion, I know I have been guilty of this. But each time I have received communion since taking this class, I have experienced God in an amazing way, a new way after understanding more about the holiness of this experience.
I recently wrote my Consecration paper for becoming a long term missionary with the Evangelical Covenant Church (our sending denomination as missionaries). Here is an excerpt of what I wrote...
Through baptism, we walk in a newness of life. In the same way, Holy Communion is a “summary act that binds the church’s life to the life of Christ… a visible sign of an invisible grace”. There is nothing magical about the bread and the cup or the water used for baptism, but it is a mystery. No one exactly understands what happens during these acts of worship, but it is evident that Christ is there. Knowing that Christ and His grace are present in the elements is much more important than attempting to explain how they are present . Holy Communion and baptism are not merely rituals or symbols but are historic acts that are significant. “By them we are linked with God’s saving acts in the past and God’s redeeming love in the present”.
On a personal note with regard to the sacraments I just want to say that while taking the class, I really saw the sacraments as just that, sacred. Before I looked at both more as symbols and not held with the same reverence as I do now. In both events, baptism and Holy Communion, I feel like we are meeting Christ there; it is a holy and sacred place to experience Him and His grace. We do not come because we are perfect; in fact both events are the perfect places for us as sinners because it is where we meet and experience God afresh and anew. It is holy and sacred and I am so excited now each time I experience a baptism or communion because I feel I am on holy ground, and God is meeting me there.
Maybe I will write another post at some point about this again, but right now, I encourage you to seek God in understanding what these sacraments mean. When you experience them the next time, open your heart to what God has for you. Don't feel like you have to come to the table of the Lord perfect or spotless, we're sinners, but this is the place for us. The same with baptism, God is present and real and wants us to experience Him in this way.
I will end with a great quote from a song, by, of course, one of my favorites, Kari Jobe...
Come all ye weary and ye brokenEveryone Needs a Little- by kari Jobe
Come to the table of the Lord
Come sing the song of the forgiven
Come lay your burden on the word
Come and find peace
Everyone needs a little rest
Everyone needs a little joy
And a song to sing in the darkest night
And life even when it gets you down
Hope will turn it all around
But love is the greatest of these
Everyone needs a little
Sing all ye saints and ye sinners
Call upon the mercy of the Lord
Come sing the song of redemption
Sing about the hope that is to come