“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: