A Sacrament is both a physical symbol of and the activation of God's Grace, just as a computer icon both symbolises an activity and activates it. In this broad sense, the world is the Sacrament of God's creation and the Church is the Sacrament of God's presence with us on earth.

In their narrower sense, The Sacraments are a set of physical invocations of Grace which occur at key points in our lives. In the Mediæval Church there were seven Sacraments established by tradition: Baptism (admission of adults and children into the Church); Confirmation (invoking the Holy Spirit for Christian adulthood); Holy Eucharist (sharing in the body and blood of Jesus Christ as our sacred food); Confession (formal admission of sins, penitence and reconciliation with God); Marriage (the joining together of two people in the sight of God); Anointing (anointing in sickness or as preparation for death); and Holy Orders (the ordination of Deacons, Priests and Bishops).

Some Protestants only accept the "Dominical" Sacraments of Baptism and the Holy Eucharist which, they maintain, are those established in Scripture.

After a period of theological stability, we are being forced to question the fundamental nature of the Sacraments both collectively and individually:

We will be considering Initiation, the Eucharist, Reconciliation and Marriage up until Lent before considering Holy Orders extensively as our Lent Course.

KC i/06

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