Lutherans believe in two sacraments: baptism and communion. These are sacraments because they take
a physical element (water in baptism; bread and wine in communion)
and add the Word of God (Matthew 28:19 in baptism; 1 Corinthians 11:24-26 in communion)
in order to convey God's Grace
But this isn't enough for Lutherans. Is anything every enough for Lutherans? We're always reforming, so probably not! In this case, we also say that life is sacramental. If the grace of God is in, with, and under that little sip of wine and that crumb of bread, imagine the treasure of God's grace that is in, with, and under your life!
The minds behind Soul Pancake (the creators of the viral hit Kid President) say they "make stuff that matters." Watch for the sacramental life in their series, My Last Days.
Listen to this podcast on worship and, well, life. Where do you see God's grace in your life? What has happened to you in the past whose healing might be of use to others? What do you think it means to share the Good News?
It is not uncommon these days to navigate to the website of a church or a religious ministry and see a statement of beliefs. Often these statements include information about what the people behind the website believe about Scripture. Is it inerrant, meaning that it is incapable of being wrong? The bumpersticker version of this is, "God said it. I believe it. That settles it." Is it inspired, meaning written by humans (and therefore error is possible) but nevertheless instructive for humanity because it stands to reason? Lutherans offer, as usual, a third way. We believe that God's Word is a Living Word. Dan Erlander says, "Truth is the living, creative, powerful 'address' of a loving God. Truth is the Living Word which breaks into our lives, into our history, shattering old ways and creating NEW LIFE, NEW VALUES AND NEW COMMITMENT." Learn more about what Lutherans believe about both Scripture and our Statements of Faith (that is, the Creeds of the Church) here.
What have you heard about God that has changed your life?
Invite someone to worship (or send them the link to our livestream service) and be prepared to answer their questions about why we do what we do. Don't feel prepared to answer those questions? That's okay. How worship makes you feel, think, and believe is important. This is something we share with the Anglican Communion (the Episcopal Church in the U.S.)* who say, in Latin, lex orandi, lex credendi. Which means, more or less, our prayer shapes our belief. If life is sacramental, then worship itself is sacramental, and so are the sacraments. The heart of this is how God's grace appears to you and how you share that with others.
*The ELCA has a number of significant relationships with other denominations. We call these full communion partnerships. In essence, we have decided that the theological differences between us should not keep us from being one in Christ and sharing in the Lord's supper. Pastors of these congregation can share pulpits and preside at Communion in one another's churches. The ELCA also celebrates inter-denominational and inter-faith partnerships. Life is sacramental and it is a privilege to share it with other people searching deeply for truth in the world.