I know, I know… The word sacrament sounds sooo Catholic. But, as so often, it is way older than that. The early Christians realized, that from all the things, we are called to do, some are special. The Lord’s Supper, for instance. Everybody knew, it was a remembrance of the crucifixion. The same way, Passover was for the Exodus. It is not just a rite. When Jesus introduced it, He was foreshadowing His death. It is the human imitation of a godly and eternal Truth. The Lamb will be slain for all ages. Then the early Christians started to find other instances of eternal Truth imitated. The baptism, again pointing to the Certification. This time to the personal and not the universal aspect. Marriage as the shadow of the relationship between Christ and the Church. Even the Church, as the Body of Christ, is a sacrament, for it is the Bride for the Wedding of the Lamb. So, sacraments are the Eternal foreshadowed in the now.
“Dress for the job you want, not for the one you have”, they said. But then, they were angry, when I showed up as Batman.
Sacrament are so important, for they prepare us for the age to come. And not only that, we need them. When God made us, He made us, to spend our life with Him. We are made for Heaven, the never ending presence of our Heavenly Father. Not for a fallen world in constant decay. We should look for these instances of eternal Truth foreshadowed, and treasure them, keeping them in high regard, when we found them. They give us life now, and prepare us for the everlasting future.
But not everything the church does, is a sacrament. Some things are just vital for our time in this fallen world. Preaching, for example. We are specifically told, that there will be no preaching in Heaven. (Jer 31: 34.) In the Presence of the Way, the Truth, and the Life, we will all know. Further explanation unnecessary. Evangelizing won’t happen either. The Good News is just news here, it’s common knowledge there. And as important as these things are, in the light of eternity they turn out to be less vital, as wie often like to think.
And then there are those ordinary, repetitive, and almost boring tasks we perform as believers. Going to church every Sunday morning. (Or whenever your church meets.) I mean, who came up with that? But then in turns out, that gathering in the same place, in order to worship God, is exactly the kind of thing, we will do in Heaven (or in the New Jerusalem on the New Earth, to be precise). We won’t sit in our mansions on a computer celebrating virtual worship services via FaceTime. And not only, because Apple products will probably not be a thing in Heaven. We are made to meet. Face to face. With God and with all His children. Every congregation is a little imitation of the massive crowd, standing before the throne of the Father. So, when we show up in person, we gather in His Name. And we form a tiny copy of the Truth, that will last forever.