On Sunday I learned why I need Sacraments.
Not why we have them, exactly. I know that story, the richness of worship, the liturgical work of the people of God, the long history of Orthodox and Roman Catholic and Anglican and these visible signs of invisible grace. I could trace a history through books I still need to read, walk around in the Oxford History of Christian Worship or write a long academic sounding paper about it.
But on Sunday, I learned why I need them.
I need the Sacrament because I get lost.
I got lost all through college in the rambling halls of beautiful ideas and bigger questions, lost in the big ache of the world, lost in the small ache of my own heart.
I got lost in high school in the race to be thinner, prettier, something more than what I was.
I get lost in the work of growing up, dazzled by ambition, tempted by every conceivable thing I could want and don’t have.
And so Jesus offers me the liturgical life: a life of daily reminders of Him, a life of prayer at morning and evening, a life of meditation and silence, of gestures to seal the Gospel in my mind and in my heart and on my lips, to cover myself in the Cross of Him who died so that I might not die.
I need to be confirmed because kneeling before the Bishop, a shepherd who follows the Good Shepherd, who prays powerful in the Spirit and lifts high the Cross, this work brings me home again.
He cried as he prayed over me, and his words, simple, still, echo forever in my heart: “This is a new anointing, a refreshment, my daughter. We release this your daughter into your care, Lord Jesus.”
I need the Sacraments to help me stop all my running around, butting my head against the fence. I need the Sacraments to be a signpost and an emptying of myself and a moment to feel the rush of the Spirit move.
This is a new anointing.
This is a deepening, a widening, a pouring out.
I need the Sacraments to insist that the Lord builds this house, and He is the sure foundation. And this Sunday, not tripping, but crying, the Sunday of St. Michael and All Angels, I received a new anointing.
And my heart is forever changed.