Christian Sacraments

Christian sacraments have the power to enact what they symbolize.  These are outward signs instituted by Christ to be efficacious, to do what they symbolize.  The power of a ritual is more than the actual physical baptismal or sharing of the bread and wine event.  We remember and enact the experience of Jesus Christ.  This is not magic.  We do not need to be like a sports fan (fanatic) at a sporting event that goes crazy into the event.  Yet our involvement demands an expressing and deepening of the sense and experience of the mystery of God, as expressed in Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the sacrament of God.  His Christian Church is the sacrament of Jesus.  The individual Christian sacraments are the expression of Jesus and his Christian community.  The sacramental symbols of the Christian churches effect what they symbolize.  They do what they say they are doing in a special graced filled moment.

 

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The Creator (Isa 40:21-40:24)

“Have you not known?

Have you not heard?

Has it not been told you

From the beginning?

Have you not understood

From the foundations of the earth?

It is he

Who sits above the circle of the earth.

Its inhabitants are like grasshoppers.

He stretches out the heavens

Like a curtain.

He spreads them

Like a tent to live in.

He brings princes to naught.

He makes the rulers of the earth

As nothing.

Scarcely are they planted,

Scarcely sown,

Scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth,

When he blows upon them,

They wither.

The tempest carries them off

Like stubble.”

Second Isaiah continues to use the questioning style to make his point. He seems to call attention to the ignorance of the people. Do they not understand that God created them? God sits on top of the dome over the earth in the heavens, As Second Isaiah was expressing the cosmology of his day. God has stretched out the heavens like a curtain or a tent. All humans are like grasshoppers since he has such a lofty view. He controls the earthly princes and rulers. As soon as someone plants something and it begins to take roots, he blows on it and it withers. Then he sends a tempest storm to carry it off as stubble. Clearly God is in control as the creator of this world and the things in it.

The earth reacts to Yahweh (Ps 18:7-18:8)

“Then the earth reeled.

The earth rocked.

The foundations also of the mountains trembled.

The foundations quaked.

Because Yahweh was angry.

Smoke went up from his nostrils.

Devouring fire came from his mouth.

Glowing coals flamed forth from him.”

Just like in 2 Samuel, chapter 22, Yahweh’s reaction was formidable. God was angry. The earth rocked and rolled. The foundations of the mountains and not the heavens as in 2 Samuel, trembled and quaked. Smoke and fire came from his mouth and nose. Yahweh’s face, nose, and mouth become important for expressing the feelings of the divine spiritual God. Just as in 2 Samuel, flames rose up all around with glowing coals.