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Shadows of Divine Things

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Location: Texas, United States

This site is devoted to theological and philosophical investigations of the spiritual meanings of life, current events, music, spiritual growth, nature, and learning to be attuned to listening to the 'language of God.' The name of this blog comes from one of Jonathan Edwards's journals which he called 'Shadows of Divine Things,' and later renamed 'Images of Divine Things.' As a Christian I am continously on a spiritual journey to grow more into the image of Christ, to understand what it means to be crucified with Christ. To seek the truths of the Christian Faith is of upmost importance, and to know that any truths that are found outside of Christianity are present there because they ultimately point to God. I have an M.A. in theology and apologetics and I completed one year of graduate studies in Philosophy at Marquette University.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Church: A Simple Beginning (Part Two)

The church is the body of Christ. As Simon Chan has pointed out in his work Liturgical Theology, “The church is the divine-humanity by virtue of its being the body of Christ.” Moreover, “body of Christ” is more than a mere metaphor. The church is the reality of Christ here now, post resurrection. Therefore, it can be said that those who witness the body of Christ, witness Christ, the Head. However, Christ is not the body nor is the body Christ, Christ is the Head, but Christ is demonstrated through the body, thus it can be said that Christ is seen in and through the body (i.e. the church). Moreover, Christ is presented to the church post-resurrection through Word and sacrament.

The church should never be confused with a single place or structure. Often we use the terms church building, church home, or place of worship, to indicate “the church.” These things are not the church as body of Christ. The church is not a building per se it is not a denomination either. The church as body is made up of individual Christians collectively gathered and united across the world in one body with Christ as its Head. The unity that we as the body of Christ have is demonstrated in the sacraments. This is especially seen in the Eucharist, where we collectively participate in the body and blood of Christ. This is ecclesial communion.

The church as body of Christ is more than merely a collected group of baptized people who are obedient to the Word of God, a very Western view of church. Rather, as Tillard points out in Flesh of the Church, the church is “communion united by the Eucharistic body.” Chan confirms this by declaring, “When the church is understood as essentially communion in and of the body of Christ, the primary focus of the ecclesial life is not church hierarchy but koinonia characterized by agape.” This ecclesial life is collectively demonstrated not only in our worship as we gather together, but extends to our lives as we live in the world demonstrating the love of Christ.

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