Robin Dugal, a friend of mine, when reflecting after a tough pastoral visit, reflects on what it means to be a clay pot charged with ministering grace:
Just to underscore…read about the sacraments sometime – they are “outward signs which have God’s command and promise” – isn’t that what our identity is to be all about as followers and lovers and children of God? “The chief thing about sacraments is God’s Word” – isn’t it true, that this Kingdom deal isn’t about you and me but really all about Jesus, the Living Word? “Sign of the covenant of grace” – aren’t we called as followers of Jesus to embody God’s covenant? Light and salt to the world…a city set on a hill…go and do likewise…those are words of Jesus given to challenge and encourage you and me to bear His Word and will into our world. I don’t know…I don’t want to make TOO BIG of a deal of this, but it is making more sense to me as I go along. I don’t think God uses only a handful of means to communicate and reveal His grace to the world…He uses a multitude of expressions of Himself and His love through people who are part of His Body…you and me. I underscore, this doesn’t mean that WE do the actual work…we just bear the presence of the ONE whose work has been, is being and is going to be done in our lives. Jesus is the one who saves, justifies, and sanctifies…His work alone.
So, I’ve been coming to this conclusion…we are a means of grace. In fact, the more you think about, the more sense it makes. The classic definition of a sacrament actually helps you and me (if we are followers of Jesus) to embrace our God given purpose and call…we are “sent” to the world to “go and make disicples.” We are a means of God’s grace in and through our mission…in that way, every follower is a sacrament…every person who loves Jesus that which is poured out, broken, bringing the washing of new life that only comes through Jesus into the presence of the relationships in which we have been blessed.
How’s that for clarifying who we are in Jesus? We (as the gathered community of faith) not only handle the means of grace, we ARE a means of grace! Every follower a “sacrament”…I don’t know, it seems to work for me.