As humans we reveal all the most important invisible, inward, deep things about ourselves by outward action. Love, Friendship, Learning, Hate. As humans we need the physical to reveal what is deep within us.
God knows our needs and has revealed his very nature, in the person of Jesus. Jesus puts flesh on the invisible, unknowable God. So in our search for the meaning of the sacraments this is where we begin – with Jesus and especially his crucifixion. We believe it's an historic fact. Yet another compelling and attractive figure has been done to death by the system. Another very moving defeat.
Yet it is just here that we Christians make one of those spectacular changes of gear: Yes, we acknowledge the defeat and the death and the dereliction: But for defeat and dereliction, we speak of victory; instead of seeing confident men in control of an event we see them as actors in a drama, so that the event is not theirs at all. We see His followers who forsook him and fled, frightened to death, a few days later proclaiming that this event was God's, yes, God's doing. According to our faith God was involved in this event from the very beginning. It was no accident. This cannot be seen, known, except by that strange knowledge we call faith. This event speaks to the heart and we answer from within.
So if you want to see the power, the strength, the almightiness of God there is only one place to look and it is to this weak man hanging on the cross – if God can go to those lengths for us there is nothing that we can do that will take down the arms outstretched for us. We can break all the rules, we can make all the mistakes in the world and nothing can change the love that God has for us. The life and death of Jesus is a glimpse into the very heart of God. And that is precisely the point we need to make about the sacraments. It is this Christ event - His life, death, resurrection where we begin and where we end in our thinking about the sacraments.
“He is an outward and visible sign of the invisible God". As Anglicans we believe that the Outward is incredibly important. God comes to us through the things of this world. Water at Baptism, Bread and Wine in Holy Communion but also through the kiss, making love, shaking hands and we could go on endlessly.
Let’s make sure that our actions and words reflect the invisible God.