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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Thou dost feed us in these holy mysteries.

A Reflection by Mother Mary MacKenzie

Sunday by Sunday we gather together to worship God. We "continue in the apostles teaching and fellowship, the breaking of bread, and in the prayers" living our promises made in baptism. We hear the Word of God in Holy Scripture and in the sermon (one hopes), we pray for one another and for the world, and we come to the Lord's table to share... to share what? The prayer we say after communion in Rite I, says it best, "thou dost feed us in these holy mysteries." We come to the holy table to share a sacred meal that appears to consist of a thin wafer and a sip of sweet angelica; the bread and wine of communion. God feeds us. It is holy mystery.

Sacraments by their very nature are mystery. Our Catechism states that a sacrament is an outward and visible sign (e.g. bread and wine in Holy Eucharist or water in Holy Baptism) of an inward and spiritual grace. We experience God's grace through sacrament. While we may try to find words to describe it or even explain it; they fall woefully short. God's grace is mystery and it cannot be explained or understood. It can only be experienced.

As children of God, members of the Body of Christ, we are invited to experience this mystery in the sacrament of Christ's Body and Blood, in Holy Communion. In fact all who are baptized vow to come to the table to enter the mystery. Parents and godparents who speak on behalf of infants and children at baptism promise to help the children live out the vows of the Baptismal Covenant.

The sacrament of Holy Baptism is full initiation into the Body of Christ, the Church. Nothing more is needed; we are Christians. All Christians are invited to the table, to enter the mystery, to receive God's grace.

While Holy Baptism is a one-time event, we continue to grow in the faith, to be sanctified as we mature and more faithfully follow Christ for the rest of our lives. The sacraments support us in that growth and sanctification. We "continue in the apostles teaching;" we study God's Word in Holy Scripture; we serve Christ in the world; we examine our own lives and repent when we fall into sin, and so forth. The Holy Spirit acting through our Community of Faith supports us in our growth.
Maturity, ability, knowledge, understanding - there are no prerequisites for receiving God's grace, thanks be to God.

So Come. Come to the table. Eat and be fed; be filled with the mystery of God's grace. All are welcome.