A sacrament is an outward and efficacious instrument of divine grace historically instituted in the Gospels by Jesus Christ, which enable us to have faith in God. Sacraments use material, earthly objects to speak to and touch us in deep mysterious and spiritual ways. Jesus himself is the principle (or primordial) sacrament, because through His life He saves mankind. He leads us directly into the life of God, where all grace is to be found. His human nature is the outward sign of his Divine nature. Through his humanness we see and touch God. Through his human form we are led to God. Through his humanity the life of the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) comes to us as grace through the sacraments. Jesus’ actions lead us directly into the life of God. Jesus mediates through the sacraments to allow grace to flow to humankind. By repeating Christ’s sacramental actions we receive the grace that brings us home to the heart of God. Finally, Jesus is the life that leads us to the vision of God in heaven, the fullness of salvation, eternal life.
The Church of England celebrates two sacraments historically ordained by Christ and evidenced in the Gospel:
Holy Baptism (to find out more, Click Here) and Holy Eucharist (to find out more, Click Here)
The Church of England conducts sacramental ministries of grace that are also seen as channels of God’s presence and action:
. Confirmation (to find out more, Click Here)
. Reconciliation (Confession) (to find out more, Click Here)
. Anointing of the Sick (to find out more, Click Here)
. Holy Orders (Ordination of men and women as bishops, priests and deacons)(to find out more, Click Here)
. Marriage (to find out more, Click Here)
The Liturgy (the way we worship) at All Saints’, Orpington
The Church of England upholds that the way we worship and pray together helps to reflect who we are. We therefore, take seriously the need for our worship to be ‘in common’. Liturgy has the power to change lives and worship can transform our community by drawing us into the dynamic life of God. Liturgy is central to the Christian tradition and is an integral part of the Christian family’s relationship with God. The signs, symbols and sacred actions which form public prayer and worship spring from the language and events of God’s own self-revelation. Every aspect of the Church’s liturgy has its roots in scripture and the earliest church tradition. Anglicanism’s liturgical celebrations arise directly out of the mystery of salvation in Jesus Christ and are part of the very means by which we enter into that mystery.
As the Church (those called into community with Christ) leaves the building after worship and goes out into the world, we bring the good news of Jesus Christ to our daily actions: work, rest, recreation and service. Worship is also continually happening in heaven, and we Christians, look to model our lives so that they may reflect that heavenly worship in all we do.
In hope of growing closer to God, we come together as a worshipping community during the week to engage in the central most important activity of the Church. The word liturgy (from Greek: leitourgía) literally means ‘to give service’, and the word worship (from Greek: proskuneo) means ‘to fall/bow down before’. Liturgy is therefore more that just praise, it is also devotion. Devotion towards the self-giving God who gives everything so that we may have all, and live transformed lives to become more like his son, Jesus Christ. Therefore, as Christians we regularly meet around the Holy Table and come together to celebrate God, who is of greatest worth to us, and to give service to Him and each other.