AN ETERNAL SACRED DIMENSION IN TIME 09-24-2015

Jesus is our Emmanuel: “God with us.” Through Jesus, our relationship with God moves into the deepest intimacy exclaimed by the psalmist: “taste and see that God is good” (Psalm 34:8). To taste God invokes the eroticism of the Song of Songs,[1] where God is the lover we long for and pursue. It’s not enough for us to smell and touch our love. We can’t be satisfied until we taste our love, bringing our beloved into ourselves. This is the symbolism of communion. This is the spiritualization of life. We take God into ourselves and partake in God incarnate. Perception is transformed. The veil is lifted. Life is revealed for what it is: sacrament. There may be no observable change in outward life—in the details of what we do. But there’s a complete transformation in the way we see. We come to experience ordinary life as extraordinary. Thomas Keating refers to this transformation as an opening to a fourth dimension.

We can experience the world through God’s human eyes. When Jesus came into the world, God was no longer located in one particular place (the temple). When Jesus came into the world, God was available everywhere (John 4:19-21, 23). This is the re-enchantment of the world. God is in the world through Christ. When we pray “God’s dominion come…on earth as it is in heaven,” (Matthew 6:10) we pray for the re-enchantment of the world. We pray for mystical communion with him, in him, through him: “The dominion of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the dominion of God is among you” (Luke 17:20-21).

The point for East Orthodox author, Alexander Schmemann, isn’t a life to come beyond time, but an eternal sacred dimension in time—in the here and now…

The modern world has relegated joy to the category of ‘fun’ and ‘relaxation.’ But there is a far deeper joy available in the present moment—“the Kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21, NKJV). When this element is lost, the reason for which we were created is also lost. The presence of God’s kingdom here in time is the real cause of joy for the Christian mystic, and it is also the means of the transformation of the world.[2]

[1] The Song of Songs is a book of the Old Testament thought to be composed by King Solomon.

[2] Schmemann, For the Life of the World, 61.