Christians believe that the entire journey of life, from our birth to our grave, is a sacred experience. At each moment along the way we celebrate the presence and grace of God with prayer and ritual. Presbyterians recognize two of these rituals – Baptism and Communion – as “sacraments” because they find their roots in the Gospel accounts of Jesus. But we also celebrate God’s grace at other moments in our lives through the anointing of the sick, confirmation, joining a local congregation, weddings, and funerals.
We believe that sacraments and rituals...
Connect Us to Christ
John Calvin said the sacraments are “visible words” that help connect us to Christ in a very tangible way. We could say the same about many of the other ritual moments in our Christian life. In Baptism, Christ claims us as his children. In Communion, Christ nourishes us with his presence. In anointing, Christ reaches out to us in healing. In confirmation, Christ calls us to follow him more deeply. In death, Christ raises us to resurrection life. Our Brief Statement of Faith proclaims: “In life and death we belong to God.” Our sacraments and rituals are visible signs of this truth.
Each time someone is baptized or another person finds their place at the table of the Lord, the community of faith extends ever wider. When we anoint a sick person with oil or pray at the bedside of someone who is dying, we extend God’s healing and compassion. Whether through public words of covenant promise or silent gesture, our rituals help us grow closer to one another in this community of faith.
Celebrate God’s Creation
In the account of creation found in Genesis, God looks at everything that has been created and calls it “good.” In our sacraments and rituals we use the “stuff” of the world around us to illustrate the God’s amazing grace – water, bread, wine (grape juice), and oil. By using these things we are reminded that, through the death and resurrection of Christ, the entire creation has been redeemed.