Grace in Sacraments

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I’m doing a lot of reading and thinking about sacraments and I’m really regretting not following God’s lead a whole lot earlier; because I had desired to attend the Episcopal church for months before I ever did it, and I had my reasons but the longer I held off the more miserable I got because I knew I was purposely keeping myself from what my soul was craving in order not to hurt any feelings. As I experience the liturgy and partake of the Eucharist every week, it has transformed me, and it can do that because it’s Jesus and Jesus is in the transforming business, it’s the whole point. The more sacraments I partake of, the more I see a common theme, and that theme is grace.

I haven’t kept it a secret that for a while last year, because of all the stuff that had happened to me, my faith was on the line. And for a while I just stopped functioning when it came to faith. I stopped reading the Bible, stopped praying, and stopped listening to Christian music. I did go to church and I was still open to hearing from God but I wasn’t making any effort. Through my research for school and personal research I felt God calling me to something different, something liturgical, but I was scared and lazy and so I held off. I came to the Eucharist spiritually hungry, not really understanding what I was partaking of even though I’d been taking communion my whole life (once a quarter, with Welch’s grape juice in disposable shot glasses and tiny little wafers that I took from a tray that was either passed in front of me or on a table that I walked up to). Communion with the whole church drinking wine from the same communal cup shows that we are in community, that none of us are alone, we are in this thing together. Also, you kind of need community to have communion.

Now I go to church every week because I’m hungry. I really have no clue what I think about a lot of God stuff right now, I’m very much a seeker, but I know that the communion, the body and blood of Jesus, the bread and the wine, it’s feeding me and nourishing me. The more I eat, the more I become spiritually alive, and the more I crave of God. I think I’m ready to return to God, because God has shown me grace. I believe in God because I have experienced God, and I believe in Jesus because he changed my life and I’m fed spiritually by him week after week. I believe in the Holy Spirit because something has to get through to this stubborn woman seeking God.

The sacraments are a gift, a gift that ministers the grace of God to everyone who partakes. Every week I kneel in front of an altar where a man I sinned against the first time I met him serves me bread, and it keeps me very well aware that not only does God have a sense of humor but that the priest is ministering grace to a woman who did him wrong. It’s just like God except that God knows all of my sin and yet every week God allows me to partake of Jesus’ body and blood. I keep talking about the Eucharist here, basking in it, because it’s been so life-changing to be in community with other believers who don’t think the same way I do, confessing our sins together, declaring beliefs together, and praying together. Jesus is in the communion, and Jesus continues to be the bread of life to feed the spiritually hungry and he continues to nourish me and now I’m alive enough to return to the God I love.

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