These days, it’s fairly clear to anyone paying attention that the growing trends of secularism, relativism, and poorly-defined new age “spirituality” is causing the foundations of Christian worship to rot. Whether it is not attending church, or blantantly ignoring the teachings found in both the Bible and Church History, the disconnect from the church of the apostles is becoming more and more widespread.
In my view, nowhere is this scourge more rife than in attitudes towards the sacraments. Even among Catholics, confession is quickly becoming a rarity as people feel less need to confess their sins; it is nearly non-existent in Protestant churches; as some anecdotal evidence, in my parish, I have not once seen the confessional used by a prietst and penitent; I can only recall even a few instances that the “group confession” laid out in the rubrics of the BCP was included in the service. People are just as tepid in their approach to baptism; they clearly no longer believe Jesus’ words that it is needed for salvation. Looking at statistics for almost every sect excluding Pentecostals confirms this.
But perhaps the sacrament most neglected in this way is the Eucharist. Again, atheistic, materialist culture has definitely left it’s mark here. However I think that the churches themselves are also partly to blame. How often does a typical evangelical congregation observe Holy Communion, which many view as a relic of “popish corruption” of the church; I will bet rarely, if ever. But it is more than just evangelicals falling for this fallacy. Many Presbyterian churches only a few times a year to shift the focus of worship to preaching, meanwhile denigrating those who want to emphasize the sacraments as “superstitious”; even some Anglicans are guilty of these practices.Now I am not saying that reading the bible and listening to scriptural sermons are not spiritually wholesome endevaors; on the contrary, I believe them to be indispensable parts of a Christian life; nevertheless, we must remember that, whereas the sacraments are commandments straight from the Lord , scriptural reading in worship is not. Thus it is utterly beyond me why ANY Christian would disregard the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist, in favor of what is really a human innovation, albeit one that does enormous good for the soul.
I think that all Christians need to remember the above facts, and realize once more that the sacraments ordained by Christ are in themselves channels of grace, and are to Christians what sacrifices were in the Old Covenant: a way for us to become closer with God .As they such are deserving of a central place in every Christian’s life. The more this happens, the safer our souls will be.
Please let me know your thoughts on these ramblings of mine in the comments below.