Reflections from Ed Dunlap

Two things I remember from my confirmation class 61 years ago is the General Thanksgiving as found in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer and the definition of a sacrament. As I learned that definition, “a sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inward spiritual grace, given by Christ as sure and certain means by which we receive that grace.” Those sacraments are Holy Baptism and Holy Eucharist. The other sacramental rites or actions are confirmation, ordination, holy matrimony, reconciliation of a penitent, and unction, the anointing with oil of the sick or dying.

In the last few weeks we at Holy Cross have been experimenting where to include the peace in the service. I must admit that I made the suggestion, that we pass the peace at the end of the service. It was a bad suggestion. Thinking about exchanging the peace right after the absolution and before the Eucharist is the proper place. 

I have come to believe that passing of the peace is a sacrament not unlike the other sacramental acts of the church. You see when we great our neighbor with the peace of the Lord we giving an outward and visible sign that we are reconciled to God through confession and absolution and we are reconciled with our neighbor. When those two reconciliations have occurred, we are prepared to make our offerings to the Lord of the bread and wine and the offering baskets as symbols of our life and labors. Until recently, I have not thought of the peace as a sacramental act, just as essential as the other sacramental rites of the church.
Maybe just maybe that we can come to believe and act that all our lives are sacramental acts. Think about it - maybe everything we do or say is an outward and visible sign of the inward spiritual grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Think about what that could do for this sinful and broken world. I believe that is what the Lord Jesus would have us do and be sacraments of His love.

Peace and love ~

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