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Is everything sacramental?

In reading the book Heavenly Participation: The Weaving of a Sacramental Tapestry Boersma writes

“Thus the church’s sacraments are simply the beginning of the cosmic restoration. The entire cosmos is meant to serve as a sacrament: a material gift from God in and through which we enter into the joy of his heavenly presence.”

Boersma has basically said that the Church has been wrong in the way they have been administering the Sacraments. Seeing all creation as a sacrament that is the “in and through” to joy in God. Were’s God’s Word? Absent. Where’s faith? Unneeded. When we focus our gaze upon creation by which we hope to be lifted up we have taken our eyes off the content of the Gospel. This almost is too easy to say but I’m sure I’m not the first. “If everything is sacramental then nothing is sacramental”.

Clowney in his book The Church (Contours of Christian Theology) writes

Spreading the sacramental over the whole creation dilutes its force. If everything is sacramental, then bread and wine are already sacraments before their consecration, and the mystery of the Eucharist differs only in degree from the sacramentality of an incarnate creation. p 270

There is a tendency for those who want to ignore the physical. A type of Gnosticism where the body is irrelevant. However as Clowney goes on to say we can affirm the physical creation and know that God created it good. This doesn’t mean however that we need to sacramentalize it. Of course creation moves us to God because everything testifies of his glory and power. However it is not saving. It is not redemptive. That God makes everything is not the same as God is “in” everything. We are safe to stand by that which is revealed as a sacrament in God’s Word. Baptism and the Supper.


1 Comment

  1. Aldo says:

    RE: the boring’ Mass I think that this ponits out the problem I have, at least, with a lot of mega-church style worship, namely that the pressure of being relevant requires one to develop worship with a emphasis on novelty. The technological society is obsessed with novelty, of course, and the historic patterns of the liturgical churches will of course reach an impasse if cultural relevance requires continual novelty. Beyond this, however, I find several issues problematic with this presentation. As Fr. Unterseher ponits out, the use of symbol here more approximates sign, and in either case, the specter of the connotation of cipher lurks in the background of the use of these terms within the context of Potential Church’s usage. Furthermore, within my own liturgical sensibilities, I find it troublesome that the use of unexpected worship experiences betrays a lack of coherence regarding the historic nature of Christianity. What I mean by this is that I perceive a natural coherence between the historical nature of the Christ event and the unfolding experience of Christian worship within the history of liturgy. Therefore, I find liturgical novelty for the sake of novelty disorienting because it treats innovates an historical phenomenon without any sense of history.Therefore, I wonder how much catechesis on the part of the sacramentally-minded interlocutor is necessary to engage someone coming from a Potential Church perspective to capitalize on the sacramental entre9e.(Not to mention the ecclesiological issues with a church that calls itself Potential Church ; it reads to me as Potential Actual Theological Reality. How’s that for disorientation!)

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