Sacramental whether we like it or not

“As his sacramental people, we find him living and at work in our own life-experiences. We celebrate the presence, the gift, the healing, the reconciliation, the joy in our own life by connecting it with the earthly life of Jesus. We are a sacramental community because our life, our work, and our celebrations centre on Christ, the one true Sacrament. Our life together is sacramental because we live by faith in him and our everyday lives reveal and offer unexpected grace, his undeserved gift again and again.” (The Salvation Army Handbook of Doctrine, p.270)

Concise Dictionary of Religion calls a sacrament “a Rite in which GOD (or Gods) is (are) uniquely active”.

By this definition of what sacramental means every Christian church on earth is sacramental. If we invite the holy presence of God to meet us in our worship, which is usually the case in times of worship for without His presence in what we do, church is meaningless and should be regarded as social hour instead of worship. We do not pray to each other, so God becomes active in prayer therefore making it sacramental within our worship. When we read from His word, which we attest to being living and active and the only source of Christian faith and practice, we acknowledge that His word is vital and applicable to godly living therefore God is again active in our worship. By this definition alone we attest that we are sacramental people who wish to interact with a living and Holy God.

Sacramental living has unfortunately been compartmentalized within church to be specific actions or rituals in which we do or do not participate in, such as Communion or baptism. While these two specific acts of worship have the potential to be sacred moments in Christian living, they hold no more or less sacred value than that of corporate prayer or the call to salvation in an altar call setting. One could argue that we have been instructed through scripture to “do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19) But many fail to realize the context in which Christ was instructing…what does remembrance mean? Where was Jesus and the disciples when he gave this command. Many would argue that it is strictly the breaking of the bread and the drinking of the wine, but if we were to explore further in this context of this scripture the entire ecclesia of believers/disciples were gathered together over the dinner table and fellowshipping with Christ. This too is divine interaction in the context of worship! A meal together in the corporate sense of worship is sacramental as well, not just the breaking of bread and the passing of the cup…I believe historically we as Church have only scratched the surface of the sacraments when we only take a portion of the passover meal in the two elements and make it something more than it should be. Dare I say it’s a misrepresentation of scripture to evoke one segment of this meal with his disciples to be more important than the entirety as a whole.

We are sacramental as a people because of the unity of the body through Christ Jesus. When we as His people participate unified in the corporate setting we are doing this in remembrance of Him. Our worship is never perfect, we all have our hang ups, but when we invite God to partake in our prayers, songs, scripture readings, message, meals we are practicing sacramental living.

Holy living within the context of partaking in these sacred moments is the result of our invitation and reception of His presence. We enter into His presence not only in church but in our private prayer closets and daily devotional lives. We have received his holy presence at salvation and the work of the Holy Spirit prods us onward in becoming more like Christ in our new creation through continued surrender of every fragment of our being. Submission or fully surrendered lives to the Holy Spirit is by far the most sacred sacrament we partake in within our human existence.

We are sacramental in word and deed whether we like it or not…but I’m willing to venture a guess that upon receiving and accepting His presence in our lives this realization becomes all too clear through our surrender and His love which permeates every fiber of our transformed lives.

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