A sacrament is when something holy happens. It is transparent time, time which you can see through to something deep inside time.
Generally speaking, Protestants have two official sacraments (the Lord's Supper, Baptism) and Roman Catholics these two plus five others (Confirmation, Penance, Extreme Unction, Ordination, and Matrimony). In other words, at such milestone moments as seeing a baby baptized or being baptized yourself, confessing your sins, getting married, dying, you are apt to catch a glimpse of the almost unbearable preciousness and mystery of life.
Needless to say, church isn't the only place where the holy happens. Sacramental moments can occur at any moment, any place, and to anybody. Watching something get born. Making love.
Wait. Stop. Can I say that to 14 year olds? Making love? Have you heard about what is happening in Portland today? Let me clue you in. My grandmother sent me an email to ask what was wrong with my city. One of the middle schools wants to give out birth control to their students. I'm not kidding. Sometimes I wish I were. Read all about it here.
My confirmands are not middle schoolers. Nor do they attend this particular middle school on the other side of the bridge. But, can I say this? Really? The rest is so good. The whole thing is so good. I just love me some Buechner. See, it continues on page 101 of Wishful Thinking:
A high-school graduation.
See? See? That's relevant to kids -- even if they are freshman. Sorry. I'll stop interrupting. Buechner has the floor:
Somebody coming to see you when you're sick. A meal with people you love. Looking into a stranger's eyes and finding out he's not a stranger.
If we weren't blind as bats, we might see that life itself is sacramental.
Am I being blind as a bat? Is the whole city of Portland? Are our middle schoolers? Tricky territory, I tell you.