Thursday, November 20, 2014

Paradigm Shift: A Sacramental Worldview

I feel like I have experienced a paradigm shift in my view of the world the last couple years.  The best way I can describe it is that I now hold to a sacramental view of the world.

A sacramental view of the world is a view that sees all created things as pointing to a higher, heavenly reality.   What is a sacrament? A sacrament is a sign that points to and participates in a higher reality.  So, for example, the bread and wine of the Lord's Supper point to, but also participate in, the body and blood of Christ.  When we take the bread and the wine as Christians, we not only see Christ, but we also participate in Him, and receive his life.

But the sacrament of the Supper is based on the ultimate sacrament of Jesus Christ, whose incarnation joins God and man, heaven and earth, and whose death and resurrection enable his people to move from death to life, from earth to heaven, to participation in the triune life of God. 

In using common and universal elements like water, bread, and wine, the sacraments, but particularly the Supper, show us how to view all of God's creation and how to use and enjoy it in a manner pleasing to our Creator and Redeemer.  In our Lord's actions before the Supper, we have a picture of how humanity is meant to live:

First, Jesus receives the bread and wine.  All things are a good gift from God the Father.  Lust is about self-grasping, but trust is about receiving all things from the Father.

Second, Jesus looks to heaven and gives thanks.  The God and Father of Jesus is good and generous and deserving of continual thanksgiving.

Third, Jesus breaks the bread.  We offer what we receive from the Father back to him, including ourselves.  This self-offering is our reasonable worship, and it imitates the self-giving of each member of the trinity to one another, and the self-giving of Jesus on the cross.

Fourth, the bread is given and eaten, a bread which points to and participates in the body and blood of Jesus.  In all created things we are given, we can see Jesus in them if our eyes are opened, and we are able to use them to share in his life, that is, to enjoy satisfying fellowship with the Father and the Son.  Truly Jesus is our true portion and daily bread.

In using the creation this way, we see its true meaning and beauty, which is derived from Jesus, in whom all things hold together.  In using creation this way, we avoid the idolatry that ends in death and lack of satisfaction.  In using creation this way, we have a continual feast as we live in fellowship with the Father and the Son through the Spirit, as we walk in a world that speaks to us about God's glory, mediated through the Son, continuously.

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