Four Acts of a Sacramental Life
-by Tim Bias
Paul gives witness to the life of Christ in the book of Philippians. In the scripture below he describes the sacramental life of Jesus. At the same time, Paul is urging us to live the life of Christ. The characteristics of a Christ-like life are not hard to uncover in this text: love, unity, integrity, and humility. Jesus embodies love. This is the life Christ-followers are to live.
Therefore, if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort in love, any sharing in the Spirit, any sympathy, complete my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, being united, and agreeing with each other. Don’t do anything for selfish purposes, but with humility think of others as better than yourselves. Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others. (Philippians 2:1-4)
What then does this scripture teach us about living a sacramental life? Here are four acts of a sacramental life to get started:
- Share God’s love in all aspects of life.
To live a sacramental life is to share God’s love in all aspects of our lives. We share in visible ways the love that shapes our innermost being. We follow Jesus to discover and join in God’s mission here on earth. That is a sacramental life.
- Continue growing to become more like Jesus.
The sacramental life also implies growth. As people who live in the Wesleyan tradition, we talk about “going on to perfection.” We are to become more like Jesus. We are not to be perfect people. We are to be people perfected in Christ. The more we become who Jesus invites us to be, the more we are able to alert people to the kingdom of God.
- Practice God’s love.
The sacraments are designed to be holy acts, or practices, of the church. These acts remind us of God’s love for us. If sacraments are the holy acts of the church pointing us to God’s love, Christ followers are called to embody a sacramental life. That takes practice…a lifetime of practice.
Paul continues, “Adopt the attitude that was in Christ Jesus: Though he was in the form of God, he did not consider being equal with God something to exploit. But he emptied himself by taking the form of a slave and by becoming like human beings. When he found himself in the form of a human, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8)
Sacramental living is a reflection of the mind, heart, and actions of Christ. As Paul reminds us, our embodiment of God’s humble love will stretch us. That is when we know we are growing.
- Regularly ask questions as individuals and as a congregation that guide our relationships with Jesus, one another, and our community
- How are we growing as Christ-followers?
- How are we sharing the life and love of Jesus with one another?
- How are we offering our lives (and assisting our congregations) in impacting our communities?
Living a sacramental life is counter-cultural. It is also life-giving, love-bound, and transformational.
Be a person of hope and love. Live a sacramental life. The pathway will help you become who Jesus wants you to be.
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