I'm heading off tomorrow with the confirmands on our annual confirmation retreat to the Calvin Center down in Hampton, Georgia. There is something special about getting away from the normal routines of life to be with friends and explore the deeper reaches of our souls, to be still (and at times not so still) and to know that God is God and we are not.
This weekend our focus will be on the sacraments, baptism, and the Lord's Supper. A sacrament is an outward, visible sign of an inward, divine grace. Baptism is about our adoption into the family of God, our dying and rising with Christ, who washes away our sin. The Lord's Supper is about our being fed spiritually as we look back to see what Christ did 2,000 years ago. Look around to see what he is doing today, and look ahead to anticipate the glorious feast we are promised in God's very presence.
This weekend as I am sharing communion with around 80 young people at an outdoor amphitheater, many of you will be here in the JCPC chapel participating in the baptism of Will Shearouse. In both our places of worship, may we all realize the earth-shattering, spine-tingling, God-infused power that accompanies these sacred acts. This ain't no dress rehearsal!
"Baptism enacts and seals what the Word proclaims: God's redeeming grace offered to all people. Baptism is God's gift of grace and also God's summons to respond to that grace. Baptism calls to repentance, to faithfulness, and to discipleship. Baptism gives the church its identity and commissions the church for ministry to the world." (Book of Order W-2.30006)
"The Lord's Supper is the sign and seal of eating and drinking in communion with our crucified and risen Lord. During his earthly ministry Jesus shared meals with his followers as a sign of community and acceptance and as an occasion for his own ministry." (Book of Order W-2.4001a)
Prayer for Today
Lord, help us to understand that the sacraments aren't just rituals that help us understand what you did a long time ago, but rather acts of your real and powerful presence today. Amen.