Sacraments

Lesson 9: Eucharist as Ritual

Lesson 9: Eucharist as Ritual

The most important challenge for a Eucharist liturgy is to express a community meal rather than an institutional ritual. The Church has not always done a very good job with this one. Too often, the service is regarded as fulfilling requirements that enforce the authority of the institution. Only those commissioned by the authorities are […]

Read More →

Read More →

Lesson 8: Eucharist as Thanksgiving

Lesson 8: Eucharist as Thanksgiving

The official title of the communion meal is the Eucharist, a Greek word meaning thanksgiving. By examining how this title applies we can learn a lot about the sacrament. First, thanksgiving is given a prominent place in the official account of the last supper in I Corinthians 11. That account is the basis of the […]

Read More →

Read More →

Lesson 7: Eucharist as Remembering

Lesson 7: Eucharist as Remembering

In our technological society, we forget how important remembering the past is for keeping our balance in life. Faith, hope, and love have always been used to summarize how Christians make decisions. Faith primarily is trust in the story that begins far back in history. Hope is the promise God makes in that story. Together, […]

Read More →

Read More →

Lesson 6: Eucharist as Eating Together

Lesson 6: Eucharist as Eating Together

The sacraments taken together express the fullness of the Christian life. Baptism welcomes us into the community that shares meals with each other and God. Although this might appear to be nothing extraordinary to an outside observer, the Church proclaims it the primary means by which her resurrected Lord is present among them. Just as […]

Read More →

Read More →

Lesson 5: Baptism as Ritual

Lesson 5: Baptism as Ritual

Back in seminary, quite some time ago, I read an account of an early baptism. My recollection is that it might have been the earliest detailed rite that has come down to us. The candidates had been extensively prepared. Although they could participate in the early part of the worship service, they had been dismissed […]

Read More →

Read More →

Lesson 4: Baptism as Community

Lesson 4: Baptism as Community

Baptism marks the entrance into a new community that follows Jesus. One of its primary features is welcoming believers to the Lord’s table. The modern church makes a huge mistake when it fails to make this the boundary for who participates in its meal. As soon as you deny baptized people from other church bodies […]

Read More →

Read More →

Lesson 3: The Meaning of Baptism

Lesson 3: The Meaning of Baptism

Early Christians felt baptism was so important they built their houses of worship near running water whenever possible. Those who have visited ancient churches in their travels have seen many were constructed right over springs so that baptisms could be performed with living water. The importance of the sacrament is also reflected in the New […]

Read More →

Read More →

Lesson 2: Sacrament as God’s Bodily Presence

Lesson 2: Sacrament as God’s Bodily Presence

The sacraments remind us that Christians claim that God is more than spirit. Although most of us can remember having defined God as a spirit at various times, the Church has insisted God is a person. And we all know a person is body as well as spirit. I can appreciate what our theologians are […]

Read More →

Read More →

Lesson 1: Sacraments as a Means of Grace

Lesson 1: Sacraments as a Means of Grace

Talking to Derek last week, I was reminded that I wanted to push myself to look at the commandments and sacraments from a modern perspective. All of us are conditioned to use old concepts when speaking of ancient traditions. They roll off our tongues without much thought. There is certainly no great harm, except when […]

Read More →

Read More →

Top