THE SACRAMENTS

The "sacraments" or "ordinances" of the Church, because many fundamentalists detest the term sacrament, are always a joyful debate topic. Before I can write about them I must lay down a foundation of what they are in general. I donít want to get into a debate about how many there are, (two or seven etc.) But what they all have in common. Some would say they are purely symbolic and others say they are actual and necessary, and if left undone, would result in damnation. I think those who say they are purely symbolic rob them of their substance, but likewise those who say they are actual are somewhat nearsighted. I will define a sacrament as thus; "an Earthly connection to Divine action" or "a temporal connection to eternity" Basically God does the work in heaven and we perform a sacrament on Earth to connect us with it. Letís take marriage. Paul calls it a "great mystery." (Ephesians 5:32) God does the act in heaven, (Matthew 19:6, Mark 10:8) but there is also a ceremonial act on Earth that connects us to the divine act. Before I married my wife I was unmarried in a temporal sense. But God joined us together before we were born for he does his work in the eternal. So a sacrament always has a sense of mystery behind it and thus it always a bit hard to explain. When we do, we inevitably "miss the mark" and have an explanation that is a bit lacking. Others see our error and come up with a different explanation that is sometimes further off the mark. The first sacrament we will look at will be baptism so lets go and jump into deep end.