It is my understanding that the Church sponsors no such thing as ‘sacraments’ in and of themselves. There are only sacraments of the good news, i.e., signs or proclamation activities which direct us – like John the Baptist and the Scriptures themselves – to see and proclaim the truth about Jesus who is the Sacrament of God. To refer to the Church’s sacraments as ‘signs’ is to say something about the way that sacraments work, that they work through what they say, and what they say is communicated in language apposite to us. In other words, the sacraments work as signs because we can read them. It is because we know what it looks and feels like to wash away dirt from our bodies, for example, that the Church can describe baptism in terms of washing away sins (so Acts 22.16; Eph 5.26; Tit 3.5). It is a sign that looks somewhat alike. Beating someone over the head with a hammer, on the other hand, could never become a sacramental sign of forgiveness because that would contradict its normal meaning. It would point in the wrong direction. This point is well made in Timothy Radcliffe’s Why Go to Church?: The Drama of the Eucharist (London/New York: Continuum, 2008), p. 189.