Wright on the Sacraments

I know I've been quite infrequent in blogging lately. Hopefully soon I'll have both something good to say and time to say it at the same time. Until then, I hope you enjoy this excellent video selection of NT Wright talking about Sacramental Theology. I actually listened to the entire "Space, Time, and Sacraments" lectures when I was in seminary, and found it excellent food for thought.

A thought on his final point about balancing Word and Sacrament. We really do need a strong encounter with both. In some churches, this will mean more in depth preaching of the Word. In The United Methodist Church there is a movement afoot to reclaim our Wesleyan (and Anglican) practice of a weekly celebration of holy communion. Even where I live (in the deep South, where I assume Methodism has been most influenced by the strong Baptist presence) several of the UM churches/ministries in town do offer a weekly service of Word and Table and follow the church's liturgy in so doing.

While some may worry about this movement as making us "too Catholic" (meaning "Roman Catholic"), it is actually thoroughly Wesleyan. John Wesley himself encouraged the Methodists in America to use his revision of The Book of Common Prayer and to celebrate the holy sacrament each and every Sunday:

"I have prepared a Liturgy little differing from that of the Church of England (I think, the best constituted National Church in the world), which I advise all the traveling preachers to use on the Lord's Day in all the congregations...I also advise the elders to administer the Supper of the Lord on every Lord's Day."
-Wesley's Letter to the American Methodists, Sept. 1784

It will take courage, patience, and good teaching to move congregations in this direction who are accustomed to only a monthly celebration, or who are accustomed to a poor use of the liturgy; but in the end I believe it will strengthen the church's spiritual life while simultaneously moving our practice closer to our Wesleyan roots AND closer to the ecumenical consensus (of today and of the early centuries).

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