While they were eating, Jesus took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." (Matthew 26:26 NRSV)

For the first 13 centuries of the church, there were only two sacraments Baptism and Holy Communion. At the Council of Trent in 1341, in an attempt to respond to the sacramental needs of the people, five more were instituted: penance, holy orders, matrimony, confirmation, and extreme unction or last rites. After the Protestant reformation most churches have returned to the original two sacraments of baptism and communion.

The sacraments have been important to the church throughout its history, as people have come to experience God's grace. The relationship between these sacred moments and the church are vital.

Sacraments are gifts that make the presence of God more real to us than what we experience in everyday life.

These sacred moments employ ritual acts which stimulate every human sense. Just think of all the senses that are used during Holy Communion. I often have a hard time speaking to my congregation after I have received communion, with all of the stimulation of my senses, my mouth floods from the taste of bread and grape juice. The use of our senses in the sacraments help us to experience afresh, God's grace and revelation.

Have you taken the sacrament of Holy Communion lately? Do so soon, so that you can once again experience the closeness of God.

God of all, thank you for the gift of Holy Communion. Give me an opportunity to celebrate communion with you. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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