LIFE AS SACRAMENT 09-10-2015

In his book, For the Life of the World, East Orthodox writer Alexander Schmemann reminds us that when God became human, everything human became sacred. According to Schmemann religion exists where there is separation between God and humanity. When separation is obliterated it’s the end of religion.

In other words, at some point the spiritual path obliterates distinctions between religious life and secular life—between sacred and profane. When we’re in Jesus, we’re no longer separate from God. When we’re in Jesus, we’re back in the Garden of Eden, walking with God “in the cool of the day” (Genesis 3:8). There is intimacy, there is relationship. Post-modern alienation from ourselves and from others gradually heals. We’re made whole. The disunited self becomes united. The fragments coalesce.

When we’re in Jesus we’re no longer estranged from our own bodies. By taking on our humanity in its entirety, Jesus made all things human known to God’s very being, including the limitations, diseases, and disorders of the body.

We can’t be bad, because God came and took on our humanity, sanctifying our flesh, our cellulite, our tears. Sleeping is sacred because God slept. Eating is sacred because God ate. Walking, playing with children, physical intimacy, laughter, sight, music, fragrance, are all sacred because they no longer belong only to human experience. Through Jesus, they belong to God.

Now nothing human is foreign to God. Through Jesus, God entered into all aspects of human life. Out of love for us, God moved from inaccessibility and intangibility into all the vulnerabilities of human existence. So we’re no longer alone. When we suffer, we recall Jesus suffering with us. When we’re betrayed, we remember Jesus’ betrayal. When we’re cast from human approval and despised, we remember Jesus reviled. Jesus is in solidarity with us, especially when we suffer. And when we reach out to sufferers, we reach out to Him (Matthew 25: 31-46).