Pastor's Notes‎ > ‎

December 2013

posted Dec 18, 2014, 3:11 PM by Henry McTague

Dear Friends in Christ,

Growing up in the Catholic Church, I was well versed in the sacraments, as there are seven celebrated in the Catholic tradition.  The seven are Baptism, Confession (now called Reconciliation), Communion, Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders (we call this Ordination), and Extreme Unction (now called Sacrament of the Sick – a much less fearsome term).  When I changed my religious affiliation to the Methodist Church, and then to the UCC, it was hard to accept the transition to two Sacraments (Baptism and Communion), as there seem to be so many sacramental moments in life and two feel quite limiting to me.  That being said, in the mainline Protestant churches, we recognize Baptism and Communion as sacramental moments.

Baptism, whether administered to an infant or adult, is considered to be entrance into the universal Christian church, but not membership into a particular church.  The intention is that Baptism will be the beginning of a new life of faith, and that the newly baptized will continue to grow in knowledge of God, Christ and the Holy Spirit.  The church recognizes its responsibility in this path of discipleship and discovery, and promises to be a companion for the journey and to provide resources to foster spiritual growth.  The ritual is performed with water, in the name of the Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – and the one being baptized is named as a child of God, a disciple of Christ, and a member of God’s holy church. At the Lee Church, three drops of water collected from the Jordan River are part of the baptismal waters, signifying our unity and connection with the place of Jesus’ baptism by John.

Communion is the sacrament in which the Lord’s Last Supper is remembered and ritually reenacted.  In the breaking of the bread and the sharing of the cup, the love of Christ for his followers and his obedient sacrifice on their behalf, and ours, is recalled.  Believing that Jesus opened his ministry and his heart to people from all walks and situations of life, everyone who wishes to receive the sacrament is welcome – regardless of their religious affiliation.  We celebrate an open table.  At the Lee Church, gluten-free bread and grape juice are used as the communion elements, so that all who participate are able to eat and drink from the same loaf and cup.  The method of receiving communion is by intinction; i.e. each individual approaches the altar to take a piece of bread from the plate and dip it into the cup.  Folks with mobility concerns are served in their seats by the pastor.

In these sacramental moments, we experience God with us, Christ within us, and the Holy Spirit surrounding us.  These are some of our moments of grace.

Blessings,

Pastor Gail

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