Sacramental Living

This Sunday many churches will celebrate Baptism of the Lord, will celebrate when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan by John the Baptist (John the Baptizer). As we look to that time, I am reminded of the importance of Baptism and Communion, for that matter.  Both Baptism and The Lord's Supper represent sacraments.  As both an artist and clergy person, I especially resonate with sacraments.  Sacraments are an outward and visible sign of an inward grace.  In the sacraments, the presence and love of God are made available to us in tangible ways.  

Although, as United Methodists, we only recognize two sacraments, we do understand that other things can be sacramental, meaning there are things in life that help us connect with the Holy, commune with the Sacred.  As Christians we are meant to embody the sacramental life.  As we walk through our daily lives, we hope to foster an awareness of God who is always present and loving us.  In the sacramental life, we can experience God in the mundane things like washing the dishes, folding the clothes, and mowing the lawn.  We can experience the presence of God while contemplatively sipping a nice cup of hot tea, while painting, and while practicing yoga.  

In honor of Baptism of the Lord, take some time to let water be sacramental to you this week.  Perhaps it is in savoring a glass of water with a slice of citrus or a slice of cucumber in it.  Perhaps it is through playing with water with your children (or children in your life) -- in Florida it is warm enough for playing in the sprinklers.  For those of you in colder climates, it could be a relaxing or fun bath time.  Perhaps it just involves bringing a pitcher and/or bowl of water into your prayer time and space.  If it is a pitcher pour it into a bowl.  Let the water run over your hands.  Hear the sound of the water.  Feel it.  Touch it.  Be mindful of its symbolism of renewal and cleansing.  Let it wash over you.  Find forgiveness, peace, a fresh start, a sense of wholeness and well being.  Reflect on the past and vision for the future.  Perhaps you have already forgotten your New Year's Resolutions.  Allow the water to offer you a means of grace, a channel of God's abounding mercy and love.  Slow down.  Let the touching of the water be a time of prayer and meditation.  Give yourself a mulligan.  Give yourself grace.  Start anew. Reenter into the covenant made at your baptism.  Offer yourself once again.  Surrender your whole self to God.  Receive the unconditional love.

Just as we develop an awareness of God's love and presence, sacramental living involves also being available to offer ourselves as  a sacramental vessel in the world.  How are others experiencing the love and presence of God through us, through our actions and our presence?  How have we embodied the sacrificial love of Christ to our neighbor?  

Let us pray:

God of grace, pour out Your Holy Spirit on each of us this day.  Wash us in Your renewing and cleansing waters.  We surrender all that we are to Your use.  May we be vessels who receive Your love and grace.  And May we be vessels who offer that love and grace to all that we meet.  We are Yours.  Amen!

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