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Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Sacramental Nature of All Things

From Evangelicals on the Canterbury Trail by Robert Webber:

 "A sacramental view of life is not much different from a supernatural view of life.  It affirms the mystery of the universe and allows that everything in life is, in one way or another, related to the mystery of the Creator and the Redeemer.  For example, I once saw a poster on which were written the words of a Catholic thinker, Teilhard de Chardin: 'Because of creation and even more because of incarnation there is nothing profane for those who know how to see.'  That's it, I said to myself, that phrase captures the broadest sense of sacrament.  Because God created this world and even more because he actually became his creation, creation itself- its material substance, its history, its events, and even my small history within the whole- is not profane or secular.  There is a religious underpinning to life, a purpose to everything, an end when all things will work out all right.  Therefore, everything in life points to the center, to Christ the Creator and Redeemer in whom all things, visible and invisible- find their meaning.  That's sacrament in its broadest sense.  As an evangelical, I already believed this.  I simply had not recognized that this was a sacramental view of life.  Now I had a name for it."

"I have found in the past that I too was a supernaturalist when it came to the inspiration of the Bible, the deity and resurrection of Jesus, and personal conversion.  The practical supernatural dimension of the Christian faith in the sacraments was rejected by me as superstition.  I no longer regard the sacraments as magical or pagan.  Rather, I have come to believe they are visible means through which the saving and healing action of God through Jesus Christ is communicated to his people.  The sacraments do not save us.  They are vehicles through which the salvation of the world accomplished by Christ is extended to us.  They bring Christ to us and touch us with his healing power....God communicates with us through visible and tangible means.  He came to us in an enfleshed form.  He was made man and lived among us.  Now he continues to act in our lives through those symbols we call sacraments.  I can only testify to the power of that experience as one that continually keeps me in Christ and the church."

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