I believe in living sacramentally. ?? Sacraments connect us to the Divine while empowering us to share Grace with our neighbors. Sacraments change our lives because they begin with God, not with us. God invites us to sacrificially love one another as Jesus loved us in life, death, and most importantly – re-created life. ?
I believe more in the sacraments today than I used to. I recently baptized Alex Hecker. Alex walked into our campus ministry a few weeks ago, worshiped with us, and approached me about being baptized. We did a terrible job of reaching out to him. He, and the Holy Spirit, did an awesome job of finding us. He’s been walking with Jesus for quite some time now. Alex was ready for to receive sacraments. Christ baptized Alex – I simply said the words, poured the water over his head, anointed his forehead with oil, and offered him a baptismal candle illuminating the truth of Christ’s compassion once again breaking into the world. Alex and Christ got together sacramentally for the first time, on Orthodox Easter of all days! Alex’s roommate, Kai, is Orthodox. He served as Alex’s sponsor. I didn’t plan these factors, they just happened. I believe that living sacramentally can be very serendipitous. ?
The retired Episcopal Bishop of Colorado, William Frey once said that if baptism were magical he would attach a garden hose to a cathedral and spray blessed water on everybody. However, baptism is transformative, not magical. Alex will continue to pursue his degrees in Anthropology and Latin American Studies. He’ll keep playing and singing in his band. It would be cool if he would invite and bring some of his fraternity brothers to Canterbury Club but let’s not get the cart too far out in front of the horse. More importantly, he’s interested in taking the Church out to the other people on the University of Arizona campus. He’s disturbed by the presence of fundamentalist homophobic, misogynistic “Christians” on campus. Alex is prepared to offer his friends and fellow students a more merciful gospel.
Alex appreciates regarding our Christian ability to do good in humble and blessed ways. I believe Alex’s baptism will infuse Christ’s love into his being in transformational moments that none of us yet know about. ?? Alex’s sacramental birth may transform his religious and secular communities. I pray it does so.
Newly baptized Episcopalians willingly take vows of obedience, acceptance of Christ as their savior, renunciation of sin and a willingness to respect the dignity of every human being as a beloved child of God. Their Christian brothers and sisters promise to do all in their power to support a newly baptized person in her/his life. Such religious vows offer hope and community rather than doctrine and dispute.
Mostly though, I believe in living sacramentally because such convictions are graceful. They offer people an unrecognizable sense of God’s love that we otherwise do not possess. Living sacramentally makes Jesus’ love and commandments plain yet sacred to everybody. I’m looking forward to participating in more sacramental but common moments with people like Alex in the days to come.