Playdates with God: Mystery

Always, from the beginning,” he said. “It was sharing of the Word and breaking of the bread.”
We left the pews together and gathered around the table. He fed us with words and bread and it was the perfect ending of our time together—reminding us of all that really matters. Everything.
We came together to learn about the sacraments. To learn their roots, how best to do them, how they make us one. Baptism, communion…and weddings. We learned about weddings. Which, our teacher said, may not be considered a sacrament in our tradition, but it sure is sacred.
Sacrament. It’s from the Greek word mysterion, translated into the Latin sacramentum. Augustine said that a sacrament is an outward sign of an inward grace. For the Greeks, the word did not indicate mystery in the way we understand—that is, a secret—but it refers to a plan God has for us and for all creation. The plan culminates, our teacher said, in Jesus coming to us as one of us and giving his life for us.
This is the profound mystery.
We learned practical things like how best to hold the infant during baptism (we are sprinklers, but teacher said, “Don’t be afraid to get wet. The more water, the better.”), and the easiest method of holding the book while reading the baptismal vows (have someone else hold it), and why we use only the first and middle names during baptism (as one family, all of our last names are Christian), and what bread is best to use for communion (“the messier, the better”), and which hand to take the marriage vows with (the right), and so many other good pointers.
But we learned the deep soul things too, like the ways these sacraments unite us and the ways we are present together when we observe them. We watched two of our classmates—already married—take the marriage vows, and got choked up as they looked into each other’s eyes. We watched a baby doll get baptized and rehearsed those lines together.
And we broke the bread together. Sipped the cup.
And how can it be, that we learn all these things, and we read about all the differing views and the conflicts throughout history, and still…the Mystery never changes.
We cannot understand the ways the Spirit moves—why tears well and laughter bubbles all at once, how a tiny bite of bread can hold thousands of years of wisdom and grace, how the sweetness of the juice on the tongue drips joy and forgiveness.
We can talk transsignification and transubstantiation and consubstantiation…but there are no human words to tag this with. But something happens. Something holy happens.
Some things are better experienced than explained and we hold on to each other during these moments. We hold on to each other with shining faces. Because we know.
We have held the mystery.
 How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us:

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Sharing with L.L. Barkat today also: 

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  1. says

    “Something holy happens.”

    Those moments are golden. I love hearing of your training. I haven’t thought of those things before. God is in the details too. Thanks, Laura.

  2. says

    Yes laura…we so often for get the mystery of God…the mystery of His fellowship…and that holy just happens. Have a wonderful start to your week…blessings~

  3. says

    Beautiful Laura. And I am grateful that you are sharing what you are learning with us. We share the same traditions but you always shed light and remind me of the holy mystery in all of it.

  4. says

    I think it so so wonderful that you are going to get to participate in these mysteries, these sacraments.

    And I’ll say that learning about marriage as a sacrament, well, let’s just say it’s saved my marriage.

  5. says

    So much mystery makes sense in the light of Christ, yet so much is yet to be revealed. When are hearts are open, yes, ‘something holy happens.’ So much is how open we are. For, sometimes the sacraments leave me crying and sometimes, sadly, unmoved.

  6. says

    Laura, this is Holy. “We cannot understand the ways the Spirit moves…Something holy happens.”
    Communion has always meant more than just a remembrance for me. It is the very presence of Christ, the working of the Holy Spirit inwardly. Tagging it does make it complicated and divides us. Acknowledging the mystery we become part of in the Sacrament unites and makes us holy.
    Beautiful and blessed–this post.

  7. says

    You know, in my church we don’t focus on the sacraments … I mean we do practice Baptism, the Lord’s Supper …
    Yet, there isn’t a focus, I’m at a loss for words so I’ll use the word, focus (even though there is a ‘focus.’)

    But, I am intrigued by this intentional focus on the sacraments you speak of. Though I am not Catholic like my Nana, whom I dearly love, I am always smitten when she speaks of the focus her church gives to the sacraments as well.

    I attend a Southern Baptist (Contemporay) church body. I LOVE it there, and enjoy to serve Christ there with other bothers & sisters.

    Not to long ago I was reading a book, a memoir, and I was STOPPED completely in my tracks when the author realted her marriage/ husband as a sacrament and what it meant spiritually.
    I invite you to read that post, if you’d like to 🙂

    I enjoyed reading this post of yours today. It’s special. Our Lord making us one in family with the same last name, Christian. What a beautiful insight you shared. Thank you!

  8. says

    I love that God leaves much as “mystery.” Still laugh every time I think about those Israelites picking up manna from heaven and exclaiming, “What is it?” 40 years of munching manna and they never answered that question well.. but were fed by Holy hands! Thanks for the reminder that He is too BIG to “figure out!”.

    Have a marvelous week, Laura.

  9. says

    Amazing Mystery. Enjoyed the big thoughts and the smaller, functional details too. I love the idea that all our last names are Christian since we’re one family. I’d never heard that, but it made my heart leap a bit when I read it here.

  10. says

    Praise God for His unspeakable gift, for the many mysteries of His grace we will never fully understand until we reach glory and see Him face to face.
    Love in Him,

  11. says

    Laura, I’m new here so I don’t know your story…the school…the degree you’re seeking, the goal…but, I identify strong.

    The greatest gifts of God I have are the feeding of my family around the kitchen table and the feeding of each around the Table holding out their hands for Bread.

    Thank you for your love of mystery.

  12. says

    “The sharing of the Word and the breaking of the bread”

    What a beautiful definition of communion.,,at every level.,,

    Thanks for sharing, Laura!

  13. says

    When you approach life the way you do, when you share your thoughts, you are confirming the sacrament of being with God in the name of our Savior. If we could see all of life as a sacrament, a meeting with Him — really know and believe it, not just “say” it — how blessed we would we be! But being human, we’re going to have our doubts and fears and feelings that we don’t live out his mystery, that comprehending his mystery is “too high for us to attain.” And that, too, is all right, for God knows that our flesh is dust. How thankful I am that he also knows our souls/spirits are seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus. (For too often, we forget or can’t comprehend that part!) Thank you for sharing, beautiful Laura. God loves you, and so do I.

  14. says

    This is my first time visiting and joining in your link-up. We observed communion at our church yesterday…such a sacred ceremony for a CHRISTian!!! HOPE you have a great week!

  15. says

    Congrats, Laura…does this mean you graduated from your lay pastors program? I agree some things are “better experienced than explained.” And some things can’t be explained. Thank you for reminding us of the beauty in the mystery. Blessings to you 🙂

  16. says

    Laura, I love peeking over your shoulder as you learn to baptize and marry and serve communion.

    It’s such a privilege. Thank you.

  17. says

    Love seeing sacraments mentioned here! In the Catholic faith, we have 7 – and we describe them as ‘an outward sign of God’s grace.’

    Wonderful post!

  18. says

    I loved reading this. I struggled with communion for a long time and think: if everyone who led communion learned how to do it the right way (i.e., without scaring the pants off people), the world (and especially the church!) would be a better place.

  19. says

    My church is less traditional. They have basically let go of the sacraments because of the size of the church — or the age of the church goers. I dont know. But I do know we are missing out on the “profound mystery” as you so wonderfully wrote of.

  20. says

    It was just a side note in your post here that struck me most (although the whole explanation of sacrament is wonderful): *marriage* as a *sacrament*. What thoughts and feelings that evokes! I think (and hope) they’ll keep churning through the day. We need that insight so badly! And I am so blessed by it!

  21. says

    Thanks for sharing this. It makes me think of Colossians 2:2-3, “My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely Christ, in Whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

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