Sacramental Theology: Experiencing God’s Creation

“…The whole liturgy is sacramental, that is, one transforming act and one ascending movement. And the very goal of this movement of ascension is to take us out of ‘this world’ and to make us partakers of the world to come. In this world – the one that condemned Christ and by doing so has condemned itself – no bread, no wine can become the body and blood of Christ. Nothing which is part of it can be “sacralized.’ But the liturgy of the Church is always an anaphora, a lifting up, an ascension. The Church fulfills itself in heaven in that new eon which Christ has inaugurated in His death, resurrection and ascension, and which was given to the Church on the day of Pentecost as its life, as the ‘end’ toward which it moves. In this world Christ is crucified, His body broken, and His blood shed. And we must go out of this world, we must ascend to heaven in Christ in order to become partakers of the world to come.

But this is not an ‘other’ world, different from the one God has created and given to us. It is our same world, already perfected in Christ, but not yet in us. It is our same world, redeemed and restored, in which Christ ‘ fills all things with Himself.’ And since God has created the world as food for us and has given us food as means of communion with Him, of life in Him, the new food of the new life which we receive from God in His Kingdom is Christ Himself. He is our bread – because from the very beginning all our hunger was a hunger for Him and all our bread was but a symbol of Him, a symbol that had to become reality.”  (Alexander Schmemann, For the Life of the World, pgs. 42-43)