The topic for this week was Sacraments, which seems a bit heavy for a casual, informal blog written by a non-theologian like myself. But the adult study discussions on weekly faith practices have consistently led to great conversation with my 6-year-old, so I continue on!
Again, I kept the 2-year-old out of the deeper questions! (I will admit that I am ready to get past this focus on Faith Practices to write about my daughter. She’s nearly 3 and we’ve had moments with her lately that both tell the story of God’s unconditional love and exhibit the head-spinning insanity of a toddler. So many God moments to share…)
Week 4 – Sacraments
When I consider Faith Practices that exist in my own life, I focus on individual, personal practices. A Sacrament represents the most important of our faith practices performed by a community of believers, and time to study and consider the value of Sacraments is important! Christian believers have different ideas about which traditions are considered sacraments. My own Lutheran church defines a sacrament as (1) something Jesus commanded us to do, which (2) uses a physical element and (3) is connected with God’s promise. So, namely Baptism and Communion.
Our small study group discussed these two Sacraments of the Lutheran church. What has been your personal experience with Baptism and Communion? Which moments have been particularly meaningful?
Though the members of our small group were all “born and raised” Lutheran, we did recognize and identify the many different ways to perform these Sacraments. Unfortunately, for many Christians our differences create a chasm between believers and we focus our time and energy on heated debate! Should we do infant or adult baptism; do you dunk or dip? Is the common cup or intinction a better way to perform Communion, and how often should we do it? Weekly, bi-weekly, monthly – or every day!?
Do we get lost in the logistics and lose the meaning?
I’ve heard some argue that if communion is not done a certain way, it loses its meaning and value. I would say that if a sacrament (or any tradition of the church body or in your personal life) has lost its meaning, than we need to step back and reevaluate our relationship with God – not spend our time focusing on how that tradition was performed.
Great conversation, important things to continue to ponder in my personal life and in our church family. To top it off I had yet another awesome conversation with my son on our walk home from church that same night. (I’m beginning to think that time with him on the road between church and home will provide hours of faith-filled conversation!) We talked about Sacraments. Seems like a big, scary word, but he understood and was able to explain to me the act and purpose of both baptism and communion better than some adults could!
We focused on Communion – because that is a Sacrament that he has yet to participate in. He wanted to know what makes Communion special for me – and I was able to tell him. He wanted to know when he can take Communion. Our church traditionally has First Communion in 5th grade. (He was not pleased with that response and needed to understand why he had to wait that long. We will see where that leads us…)
In a lifetime passing us by at warp speed, it is critical to set aside these moments for real conversation about God, about faith; be open, be honest, be real. Your kids might surprise you with the depth of their young faith, and God might surprise you with his awesome, powerful presence!