Aug 30 2009

Water, Bread and Wine

bread and wineI took the picture above this past Wednesday prior to our Vespers service. I thought I might be able to use it for our church’s website.  Once I got to looking at it, however, I was reminded of an important truth about nature.  The God who created the world and made it good, has also made it holy.

The churches I have grown up in focus on two ordinances or sacraments, baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  Both of these are powerful symbols that portray in graphic fashion the love of God made visible in Jesus Christ.  What we may sometimes miss is that both holy acts make use of basic natural elements.  Baptism, no matter how it is performed, utilizes water.  In Communion we partake of bread that has come from grain grown in the earth; we drink wine or juice that that has been produced by grapes. 

For me this is a reminder that there is a sacramental quality to nature.  In what God has made we have the opportunity to experience His grace.  I am certainly not a pantheist who believes that God is to be equated with the world but I do feel that God permeates Creation and that because He made it and because He cares for it, it is holy.

In God’s hands ordinary water becomes the fountain of life.  Common everyday bread becomes a symbol of the broken body of Christ.  Wine becomes more than a drink, it represents Christ’s blood poured out for our forgiveness.  Remembering this might open the door to a sacramental outlook on nature.  Many a poet and hymnist have taken this path, and so did Jesus.  He found in the flowers of the field and birds of the air reminders of God’s providence and care.  He showed us that water, bread and wine can become a means of grace.

The challenge before us is to discover and celebrate God’s presence in the ordinary things of life.  Just look around you…