January 14, 2010

Touching and Tasting God's Love

What is the meaning and significance of the sacraments?

In the sacraments of our church, ordinary things like bread and grape juice and water become vehicles of God’s divine grace. We gather as a community not only to acknowledge God’s presence with us, but we are each able to reach out and experience for ourselves the holy. We feel the cool water of cleansing beneath our fingertips. We smell the loving warmth of freshly baked bread. We taste the sweetness of God’s grace. We hear the water being poured out like streams of righteousness and hear the bread of heaven being broken for us. We see into the eyes of our brothers and sisters and find Christ there. Our sacraments not only remind us that God-is-with-us… the sacraments enable us to experience God-with-us, Emmanuel.

In baptism, we are washed clean of past transgressions and we are marked as children of God. We are given new life through those waters – a life that begins in community. In the sacrament of communion, we are not only reminded of the covenant Christ made with us, but invited to participate in its coming – we experience a foretaste of the heavenly banquet. Time stands still when we invite God’s sacramental presence into our lives and we are swept up into the divine reality. But the sacraments are not merely mountaintop experiences - both of these sacraments transform us so that we become different. We become initiated into the priesthood of all believers and in the confirmation of our baptisms take vows to resist evil and injustice and oppression. We pray that we might be for the world the body of Christ, redeemed by his blood. The sacraments call us into the world.

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