Sacraments of Presence

 

Eucharist

 

Watercooler Wednesday Post

It seems like everyone wants to know how I experience God these days.

Friends have asked, my pastor asked in last Sunday’s sermon, a book I’m reading mentioned it (The Forgotten Spurgeon by Iain Murray), and even Randy alluded to it in his post.

Of course, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t take a chance to throw in some kind of word/grammar/writing moment. This week’s lesson is from Dictionary.com,

Def. Sacrament

1. Ecclesiasticala visible sign of an inward grace, esp. one of the solemn Christian rites considered to have been instituted by Jesus Christ to symbolize or confer grace: the sacraments of the Protestant churches are baptism and the Lord’s Supper; the sacraments of the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches are baptism, confirmation, the Eucharist, matrimony, penance, holy orders, and extreme unction.
2. (often initial capital letterAlso called Holy Sacrament. the Eucharist or Lord’s Supper.
3. the consecrated elements of the Eucharist, esp. the bread.
4. something regarded as possessing a sacred character or mysterious significance.
5. a sign, token, or symbol.
6. an oath; solemn pledge.

I am going to focus on definitions 1 & 4.

I like the idea of a sacrament being visible; some of mine are, some of mine aren’t, but they are all means by which I receive grace from God. They are also ways in which I experience a feeling of awe, a sense of God’s presence as a tangible reality – not seen, but definitely felt – and ways that I am encouraged in my faith. I picked three, but they are not the only ways I experience grace, just three that came to mind.

 

1) Truth in unexpected places

It amazes me how valid Romans 1:19 is. 

As I read novels, short stories, film scripts, poetry – written sometimes by the most godless and anti-Christian of people, I realize that truth cannot be silenced.

Here is one example of many,

He sang of names and words, of the building blocks beneath the real, the worlds that make worlds, the truths beneath the way things are; he sang of appropriate ends and just conclusions for those who would have hurt him and his. He sang the world.

Care to guess who wrote these lines? Some may guess C.S. Lewis in The Magicians’ Nephew – the imagery is certainly similar – but it was not Lewis. It is the song sung by Fat Charlie in Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys.

Neil Gaiman is a man to whom great talents have been bestowed, though he does not credit it to God’s glory. Still it is beautiful language, written in Gaiman’s wonderful voice, and whether he meant it to occur or not, I often experience grace when I read his works.

 

2) Gracious conversation

It happens more often than I deserve that I will be speaking with a friend, a new acquaintance, a member of my family, or one of my co-workers, when something about the conversation shall spark an idea for a story, or a revelation about the character of God, or sometimes something as small as a reminder to a task left undone.

These brilliant flashes of inspiration, like tinder sparks to a fire, are grace-filled moments where God the Holy Spirit is visiting me through the ministry of those around me. They are divinely deposited moments of exhortation, reminder, inspiration, even affirmation.

I believe it was Mark Twain who said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.

 

3) Silence

This one does not happen regularly, which is strange given the blessings I accrue from it. 

But it is hard to have the computer shut, the music off, the book closed, just sitting and listening, meditating, sometimes not even praying.

I think that’s why it is a sacrament for me, because it takes God’s grace for me to believe that the tasks left undone are best left undone when compared to His silent presence.

I experienced this grace tonight (ironic given the frantic effort I had spent attempting to write this post!).

I was lying on my bed, watching the dance of light as the sun set; it set the leaves outside burning in its dying light; the wind rustled the leaves and scattered the light like crimson sparks. It was a grace-filled moment; my heart was stilled of its frantic efforts, and (ironically) more able to do the tasks before me.

Silence may be a void of noise, but it is a fullness of God’s presence.

~~

Are there sacraments you adhere to? Unique ways in which you experience God’s grace?

I would love to read your comments (remember #2?).

 

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Published in: on July 9, 2008 at 6:39 am  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Great post! I like your last sentence, “Silence may be void of noise, but it is a fullness of God’s presence.”

    Look forward to reading your blog more.

    Angela

  2. Welcome to the site, Angela. And thanks for the encouragement!

  3. thanks for stopping by my blog. I’m not a photog…but I do enjoy taking pictures


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