Friday, April 04, 2008

Sacraments: more than reminders

Sunday's sermon will be on the sacraments. Yes, both will be examined as gifts or burdens. The text will be Matt 28:18-20 (baptism) and I Corinthians 11:23-26 (eucharist). What's happening with the sacraments in the evangelical and emerging church? Are they there as accessories to worship; an occasional reminder? Do they fade next to powerful preaching (and preachers)? Are they seen as additional services but not worship? Does music overshadow sacrament or illustrate them? Do they act as sacraments or ordinances? Is there a mystery of grace or a good gospel reminder? Where is mystery in worship today? Where do sacraments fit in a de-clericalized church? Are sacraments individually celebrated in the privacy of homes and small groups, or do they require the gathering and welcoming of the whole body? How about sacraments and weddings? Just for the bride and groom or open to the whole body of gathered believers? Gift or burden?
Sacraments have always attracted me, though often (always) baffle me. When I first served on the Board of World Mission in 1985, I proposed doing a sacramental survey among the mission fields at the time. I was honestly curious about baptismal practices in the various cultures and the Lord's Supper. Leadership firmly discouraged me from starting that because the missionary communities at that time did not practice any infant baptism but only believer's baptism and, in some cases, outright re-baptism. So, are sacraments gifts or burdens? Do they define and clarify or confuse and muddle us?


At 2:55 PM , Blogger Dan said...

Will you be posting your sermon as a podcast?

At 6:57 AM , Blogger donnjohnson said...



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