Posts

Showing posts with the label #Sacraments

Holy communion: Regularly eating and drinking Jesus.

Image
Holy communion , or “communion” for short, refers to the Christian ritual where we repeat what Jesus did during his last Passover with his students: Mark 14.22-25 KWL 22 As they ate, Jesus took bread; blessed, broke, and gave it to the students , and said, “Take it . This is my body.” 23 Taking a cup, giving a blessing, Jesus gave it to the students , and all drank from it. 24 Jesus told them, “This is the blood of my relationship, poured out for many. 25 Amen! I promise you I might never drink the product of the vineyard again —till that day I drink it new in God’s kingdom.” Roughly we do the same thing. There’s bread, wafers, matzo, saltines, oyster crackers, or those little Chiclet-size pills of flour you can buy by the case; there’s wine, non-alcoholic wine, grape juice, grape-flavored juice (made with 10 percent juice, which I like to call “10 percent Jesus”), or grape drink; Christians ritually eat it ’cause it represents Jesus’s self-sacrificial death. An

Getting baptized.

Image
My nieces got baptized last month. Part of their church’s vacation bible school (if you’re not familiar with the phenomenon, it’s a weeklong church program meant to evangelize kids ) to of course to get kids to choose Jesus. And of course after such decisions naturally comes baptism. The girls had chosen to follow Jesus some time before. But one of the things about the Evangelical subculture—kind of a peeve of mine—is how it can sometimes takes years before new Christians finally bother to get baptized. We’re meant to do one right after the other, ’cause we’re supposed to make a solid mental connection between the two. Get saved, get baptized, ’cause baptism represents salvation. But many Evangelicals turn the sinner’s prayer into that thing we’re meant to mentally connect to salvation: “Did you ask Jesus into your heart? Okay, you’re saved.” Hence baptism becomes way less of a priority. Once you’ve confessed Christ, evangelists tell you to get plugged into a church, to read

Do we perform sacraments or ordinances?

Image
Many Protestants are weirded out by, and water down, this “sacrament” language. ORDINANCE 'ɔr.dɪ.nəns, 'ɔrd.nəns noun. Authoritative order or decree. 2. Religious ritual; particularly one ordained by Christ. 3. What Evangelical Christians call sacraments. I refer to certain Christian rituals as sacraments. But you’re gonna find many Evangelicals really don’t like that word. To them, we don’t call these practices “sacraments.” We call them “ordinances.” Why? Officially, lots of reasons. Unofficially it’s anti-Catholicism. See, a lot of Evangelicals come from churches and traditions which are historically anti-Catholic. True, all the original Protestants originated from various spats with Catholicism. But these folks were raised to be particularly leery of Roman Catholic beliefs. To them, “sacrament” has a lot of bothersome theological baggage attached. So they refuse to use it. But we gotta call our rituals something, and for some reason “ritual” is out. So

Baptism: Get saved, get wet.

Image
BAPTISM 'bæp.tɪz.əm noun. Religious ritual of sprinkling water on a person’s forehead, or immersing them in water, symbolizing purification, regeneration, and admission to the church. [Baptist 'bæp.təst noun , baptizand 'bæp.tɪ.zænd noun , baptismal bæp'tɪz.məl adjective. ] Whenever the ancient Hebrews did something ritually unclean, before they went to temple they had to make themselves ritually clean. How they did that was to simply wash themselves with water and wait till sundown. After which point they could go to temple. Since you only had to go to temple three times a year, this didn’t require a whole lot of ritual washing. That is, till the Pharisees showed up. To them, any form of worship required people to be ritually clean. So if you went to synagogue, whether daily or just for Sabbath, you needed to be ritually clean. Gotta wash. How the Pharisees (and today’s Orthodox Jews) did so was to create a mikvéh /“collection [of water].” Basicall

Sacraments: Our Christian rituals. Gotta do ’em.

Image
SACRAMENT 'søk.rə.mənt noun. Religious ritual which represents a spiritual reality, or represents an act of God’s grace. 2. [ “the sacrament” ] Holy communion. [Sacramental søk.rə'mɛn(t).əl adjective , sacramentalist søk.rə'mɛn(t).əl.ist noun. ] God does many things in our lives. Some we see. Some we don’t. When God cures me of an illness, it’s nice and obvious: Everybody, even skeptics, can see I’m well. They’ll totally disagree about how I got well. If they don’t believe in God (or don’t believe he still does miracles ) they’ll doubt God was involved in the cure. Might even doubt I was truly ill to begin with. But they otherwise agree I’m well. That part’s visible enough. Now, when God forgives me of sin… what’s visible? I mean I know I’m forgiven; Jesus told us we’re given most everything. Mk 3.28 I put my faith in Jesus, so I trust when he says I’m forgiven, I am. But was there anything visible? Anything we could’ve experienced? Did I hear Go