Community through the Sacraments

Jesus said, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven:
if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever…”
(John 6:51)

At St. Andrew’s, we do not separate Salvation from the covenantal, sacramental life of the Church. By the grace of God through faith, man must accept Christ individually, but it is through His Church and with the people of God that we enter into new life by being baptized into His death (Romans 6:1-4; Colossians 2:12). By faith at Baptism, the New Covenant people of God align themselves with Christ, and are received into the sacramental life of union and communion with Almighty God. Through the Sacraments administered in His Church, godly persons receive the “sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort” (Article XVII) of objective signs and seals of election in Christ. In the Anglican church, the Sacraments instituted by Christ are not mere symbols or professions of faith, but “certain sure witnesses, and effectual signs of grace, and of God’s good will towards us, by the which He doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm our Faith in Him” (Article XXV).

A baptism before Sunday service at St. Andrew's Anglican Church

There are two Sacraments instituted by Christ in His Gospel: Baptism and Holy Communion. We view these Sacraments as generally necessary for Salvation due to the fact that in the New Testament, Salvation is not separated from the Sacraments. Anglicans believe Holy Baptism is a certain and sure sign of Regeneration or New-Birth, the means by which we are grafted into the Church, promised the forgiveness of sin, and adopted as sons and daughters of God. By the grace and mercy of God, “by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost” (Titus 3:5b) at the time of Baptism, man enters into a covenantal relationship and is born (“of water and of the Spirit” [John 3:5]) into the kingdom of God. We must be adopted as sons of God by grace through faith at Baptism, for none of us by nature are members of the kingdom of God (John 3:5-6).

Those who are grafted into the Body of Christ’s Church meet in the the house of God to participate in the celebration of the other Gospel Sacrament: Holy Communion. During Holy Communion, we partake of the most blessed Body and Blood of our Savior Jesus Christ. In Christ’s Church there is assurance that “we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread” (1 Corinthians 10:17). At Holy Communion, created persons commune with the Creator in table fellowship as we partake of the Bread of Heaven to the end, that by the grace and mercy of God through faith “our sinful bodies may be made clean by His body, and our souls washed through His most precious blood, and that we may evermore dwell in Him, and He in us” (The Prayer of Humble Access). Through the Gospel Sacraments humanity is “restored to eternal life and fellowship with our Creator. Life and fellowship were the gifts that God intended in our creation. Sin took them away. Christ makes it possible, by our incorporation into His own life as members of His Body, for us to have them again” (Louis R. Tarsitano, An Outline of an Anglican Life).