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Friday, December 3, 2010

The Church

Edward Schillebeeckx wrote a book that  is the basis of most of my thought. In it he says that Jesus is the Sacrament of God. It was helpful to me because I understood the incarnation more clearly. It also made sense of the world I live in, something I have tried to reflect on the last week.

In simplest terms: God is invisible. Jesus, the man, is the person "in and through" Whom God is present in the world. There are deep philosophical questions about how spirit and matter interconnect. The sacramental understanding is probably the best way. So God is present in the flesh of Jesus (the meaning of incarnate).  Jesus ascended to heaven after He rose from the dead. The earliest followers of Jesus had an experience of the Spirit of Jesus unleashed on the church. In John's Gospel Jesus breathes on the apostles to give them His Spirit. In Acts there is the famous Pentecost event. Some readings of the crucifixion note that Jesus "handed over His Spirit" can be double meaning; that is, He dies and also a sort-of-Pentecost giving over of the Spirit. Some folks will argue long and hard about all this. For me, it is clear that the life force of Jesus, The Holy Spirit, is now shared with His followers (the Church). In and through the church Jesus is active in the world. So our activity is, in fact, the on-going saving work of Christ (until the great consummation of creation).

The rituals in which we engage are acts of Christ. So are the works of loving service. Where is Jesus? Where is God? The Church should answer that question in its daily activities! But all sacramental acts are not equally transparent. Sometimes we are weak signs and symbols. That is why there is so much doubt and question about church. More to come.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting. It's my feeling that God is present in all of us all the time. We just have to recognize that and then tap into the grace that gives us.