Monday, January 24, 2011

cell phones and sacraments

Last week I had a dream in which a cell phone alert persisted.  I don't remember who's cell phone it was, but it went off every five minutes or so, and for some confusing reason whoever had the phone wasn't turning it off.   This probably made the dream annoying so I woke up.  It was only then that I realized that the alert was coming from my own cell phone, which was running out of battery life on the other side of the room.

This would have been no more than a quirky event in my life, except that it tied into what I read a few days later.  In the conclusion of his book, N.T. Wright discusses the implications for our spirituality of Jesus's resurrection and the central Christian hope of new creation.  Foundational to our spirituality are the sacraments of the church, such as baptism and the Eucharist.  Here is what Wright has to say:
I have come to believe that the sacraments are best understood within the theology of creation and new creation, and of the overlapping of heaven and earth, that I have been exploring throughout this book. The resurrection of Jesus has brought about a new state of affairs in cosmic history and reality.  God's future has burst into the present, and (as happens sometimes in dreams, when the words we are saying or the music we are hearing are also happening in the events in which we are taking part) somehow the sacraments are not just signs of the reality of new creation but actually part of it.
I found this connection helpful, since often there is so much confusion (historical and contemporary) regarding the sacraments.

I can relate to the man who asked Jesus (Luke 10), 'what must I do to inherit the eternal kind of life'?  In other words, something is clearly happening here - what does it mean to live in this new world order?  Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the very complexity of living, and wonder how my daily life relates to God's kingdom.  And yet Jesus tells this man that he already knows the answer.  It is an answer incredibly simple and profound: 'Love God with everything you are, and love your neighbor as yourself.'  I find it comforting to know that, even as we seek to better under stand the mysteries of our faith, our goal in this kingdom living is summed up in this statement.  It is not always an easy thing to do, but at least it is clear.


  1. I really resonated with this! It expresses what I've felt, but never articulated. Thanks--it's helpful.

  2. I'm glad you found it helpful! Sometimes I write and wonder if my thoughts make sense to anyone else so it's encouraging to hear that it resonated with you.