Outward and Visible Signs
This past Sunday in our Adult Inquirer's Class we talked about sacraments. Sacraments are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual graces (Book of Common Prayer, p. 857). In the Episcopal Church, we practice the two primary biblical sacraments, Baptism and Eucharist, in addition to the sacraments of the church: confirmation, marriage, ordination, reconciliation of the penitent, and unction. In every case, the sacraments are intended to remind us to celebrate God's presence.
My favorite question to pose after presenting this definition is whether God's presence is limited to these moments? Are these the only possible holy acts we might encounter? Further, can we experience sacramental moments beyond the walls of the sanctuary?
I love the definition of sacraments from the prayer book. And, I find that sometimes I need a little bit more, an even broader understanding of these holy moments: sacraments are the things we can see, hear, smell, taste, or touch that help us to recognize that God is with us. Sacraments of the church - primarily the meal we share around the Eucharistic table on Sunday mornings - are my frequent reminder to be on the lookout for these holy sightings as I go about my daily life.
As Nic and I enter into the final stages of preparation for our wedding, please know that you all have been living sacraments during our period of engagement! In grand gestures and passing words of encouragement, we are prepared for this blessing in large part because of the holiness you all have reflected back to us. The love you have shared with us has been nothing short of holy, and we feel deeply blessed! Thank you for helping to prepare us to truly receive the sacrament of marriage, St. Michael's!
May your eyes be opened and filled with hope by the sacramental moments that surround you daily.