then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature. Genesis 1:7
This is the second of the Creation descriptions of God working within His Creation to bring about the results that He desired—humanity, meant to reflect all that God is into His world. This imagery always brings to my mind a potter: hands and arms and chest covered in wet clay, kneeling in the mud, working the clay with His hands, molding and sculpting, placing his fingers here and there until the shape forms to His liking. A shape that can move, grow, develop and ultimately live, a living breathing spiritual and material being filled with the very breath of God. But it is too simplistic of a picture, the potter, the clay and the wheel because that is all an artist working with what they bought at the store and has available around them. Creating from something that was already created.
But God not only worked with the mud and the wheel but created all that was needed for
the mud and the wheel to exist. Carbon needed for life, being crafted in the vast solar furnaces called suns, distributed throughout the universe to create the basic building blocks needed for life. All the way back to the creation of molecules, atoms, quarks, time, gravity, energy, light, all worked in and through the master Potter’s hands to bring about these living beings filled with the breath of God to bear God’s love to all the world.
In this Lenten series we have been focusin
g on how God kneels in the mud in Jesus Christ for our help and salvation through the Sacraments. The Sacraments are a divine mystery where Good works in, with and under His creation to bring to us his grace and love. It all started with how we understand Jesus. Jesus both true God from eternity and true man, both natures: in a unity joined together, with participation together, but the Divine nature normally hidden under the material nature. Jesus-the divine and material brought together, in, with and under. This is not God far off, or God who doesn’t want to work with the material of this world, but God fully involved in all that His world is for our sake and benefit. We saw this, God working in, with and under His creation to bring his grace and salvation through:
- The Sacrament of Baptism– God’s promise and command in, with and under the water that promises forgiveness and adoption as children of God.
- The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper– God’s promise and command in, with and under the bread and wine that Jesus’ body and blood is there with us given for our forgiveness and strengthening in faith.
- The Sacrament of Absolution– God’s promise and command to forgive sins given in, with and under the words of the Christian to forgiving sins in Christ’s authority.
Remember a Sacrament is a Divine Mystery where God works in, with and under His Creation by HIs command and promise to bring Grace and forgiveness to His World. So, the number of sacraments does not matter as much as the Biblical definition as to what this is all about. (Knowing that some of you are use to only 2 Sacraments, or 7, or none) Understanding this, there is one more sacrament I want to speak about where God kneels in the mud to bring HIs grace and love to His world. Think about these passages from Scripture:
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? I Corinthians 6:19
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. I Peter 2:9
Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 2 Cor 5:20
I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Matthew 16:19
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[b] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. Matthew 28:19-20
If a Sacrament is a Divine Mystery where God works in, with and under His Creation by HIs command and promise to bring Grace and forgiveness to His World, then the last sacrament we are talking about is… us.
As baptized Christians, who receive our Lord’s Body and Blood and our Absolved of all of our sins through faith in Jesus—God works by His command and promise—in, with and under us, to bring His grace and love to our world. We are living sacraments of God’s grace.
Take that in for a moment at how beautiful that is. God works in his world to bring his love to all. From creating the very time, space and energy that all of this would live and grow within, to creating our mud in the very furnaces of the stars so we could be fashioned from stardust by His hands, to giving us Jesus to bring God’s love to us in flesh and blood, to His love coming to us in water and word, body and blood, bread and wine. But of all of the sacraments, the bread and the wine, the water and the word, I think you are the most beautiful sacrament of all.
You have hands that can carry the bread and the wine and pour the water you have a mouth that can speak the words; but so much more. You have a mind that is called to contemplate the mysteries of God, a heart that breaks for what breaks the heart of God, a Spirit that dwells with the very Spirit of God. Where bread, wine and water are all dependent upon other hands to do what God wants done in them, you have the hands and the feet, the mouth and mind, the heart and the soul to be God’s walking, talking breathing, caring, loving, thinking, bleeding, forgiving, dying and living Sacraments of Grace.
Like anything other sacrament, this is God and God alone, working in and through all that He has made to bring His love to all of Creation. As Christians, this is who we are, a living sacrament of grace through whom God kneels in the mud, working in, with and under us, by HIs command and promise, to bring His Grace and forgiveness to His World