I am a sacramentalist

David Epps's picture

I am a sacramentalist. I view life as a continuing sacrament and I have a sacramental world view. What is a sacrament?

According to the Catholic Church, “Sacraments are outward signs of inward grace, instituted by Christ for our sanctification” (Catechismus concil. Trident., n. 4, ex St. Augustine, “De Catechizandis rudibus”).

Allow me to simplify that definition. I believe that a sacrament is when “The Divine touches the Common and the result is something holy and/or mysterious.”
Further, I believe that most evangelicals and all Pentecostals and charismatics are closet sacramentalists. Why? Because these people hold the Bible in high regard and believe what it says.

In the Genesis creation account God (The Divine) took dirt (dirt is very common), breathed on it and mankind became a living being, made in the image of God (holy and/or mysterious).

When Moses saw the bush burning, but not being consumed, in the desert, he approached to get a better look. He heard a voice instructing him to take off his shoes because the very ground on which he was standing was holy.

One can easily make the Divine/Common/holy and/or mysterious connection. In fact, one can see the pattern throughout both the Old and New Testaments.
If you believe the Bible and accept its miracles, and believe that such things are possible today, you are a sacramentalist — whether you know it or not.

In every sacrament of the church, whether they are “major sacraments” (Eucharist and Baptism), or “minor sacraments” (penance, holy orders, matrimony, unction, or confirmation), the Divine is touching the Common (water, oil, bread, wine, a person) and something holy and/or mysterious occurs.

If one has the faith and the eyes to see, one can see the same pattern being worked out in daily life. Indeed, all of life, however common or ordinary, has the potential to be touched by the Divine and something wondrous (or at least holy and mysterious) happening. Life becomes an adventure to see what God will do!
When one is “born again,” one becomes a living sacrament. The DNA of the person prior to and following a conversion experience is the same but, certainly, something has happened ... something mysterious, something holy.

Science cannot detect or confirm it, but the person’s life is changed to such a degree that it may truly seem as though the person has experienced a new birth.
I once knew a woman who was a drug addict, a stripper, and a prostitute. She surrendered her life to Christ and her transformation was so radical, so unbelievable, that she referred to her previous self as “The Other Woman,” and wrote a book about her life.

If one believes that God is real and that He is active in the affairs of His people, and, if one believes that He can “touch” common people, ordinary days, routine events, and life situations — and that something holy and mysterious can occur — one’s vision of life and of the world can change.

We can change.

[David Epps is the pastor of the Cathedral of Christ the King, 4881 Hwy. 34 E., Sharpsburg, GA 30277. Services are held Sundays at 8:30 and 10 a.m. (www.ctkcec.org). He is the bishop of the Mid-South Diocese (www.midsouthdiocese.org) and is the mission pastor of Christ the King Fellowship in Champaign, IL. He may be contacted at frepps@ctkcec.org.]