Title: Contemporary Sacramental Contours of a God Incarnate
Editors: Boeve, Lieven
Leijssen, Lambert
Issue Date: 2001
Publisher: Peeters
Series Title: Textes et Études Liturgiques / Studies in Liturgy vol:16
Abstract: This special double issue of Questions Liturgiques – Studies in Liturgy is devoted to various ways of thinking out the "reasons" of sacraments so that their rightful "place" might come to the fore, both as integral/fundamental to theological reflection and as how they are/might be "enfleshed" in concrete praxis. In this way, the diverse contributions address the question of the presence of God in a post-modern context by sketching, from various angles, some of the "sacramental contours" of a God incarnate.
In part one, "Discovering the Sacramentality of Sacraments," the contributions seek to bring to light different ways in which the sacramentality of the sacraments addresses concerns brought forward by postmodern thought. Kevin Irwin does so by pointing out how liturgy is a "privileged focus" from which to describe what we believe, and how what we do in sacraments – "liturgical actio" – needs to be experienced as flowing from and nourishing what we do in daily life. George Worgul explains how ritual participation brings individuals into its meaning structures and how "root metaphors" therein can more fruitfully express how God is present in sacrament. László Lukács takes communication of symbols as "a matrix for a fresh understanding of the sacramental nature of the history of salvation and the sacraments as real symbols," showing how the "communicative" reality of God, and the concomitant personal commitment this entails, find their pre-eminent place in sacrament. Timothy Crutcher likewise reminds us that the "grounds" of faith are "relational." For in language we find underlying "relational vectors" that undergird language and "relational excesses" which always escape words, revealing an impetus for our theologizing which cannot but be ecumenical.
In part two, "Exposing Eucharistic Faces," the contributions each focus upon the Eucharist as taking a central place in the life of faith and how the eucharistic presence of Christ comes to be "given a face" – "enfleshed." First Gino Mattheeuws examines the sacramental place and function of the ordained minister as presider, showing how acting in persona Christi needs to be rooted in acting in persona Ecclesiae so that the presence of Christ retains an absence which calls us to transcendence. Thomas Scirghi exposes another eucharistic face, the proclaiming face, by reconsidering how preaching works. Instead of a theoretical, propositional-doctrinal proclamation of words, a new homiletic will "uncover the presence of Christ within the community" in such a way that "meaning happens" and the sacrament is truly "transformative." In his postmodern reading of "Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest," Jerry Farmer turns the face further by considering what might be termed, and in a fruitful way, "the faceless (non-)Eucharist." While clearly a "directive" (with its "authoritative voice") concerning communal celebrations, in this he finds vital threads of heterogeneity, for even in these celebrations there is a presence of God enfleshed by the very coming together of the assembly. With another shift of perspective, Willem Marie Speelman exposes another eucharistic face by considering the problematic of sacrament through electronic media – i.e. broadcast liturgy where the viewer is not there in the flesh. Though the postmodern context is clearly a media culture, the contribution points out how the sacramental cannot be mediated through ideas or images, but "communicates Him as a tangible presence." From these many faces, the question arises on how sacrament can "take place" in such a way that God’s presence comes to be incarnate.
Finally, in part three, "Re-imag(in)ing Sacramental Contours," the various contributions each seek to sketch out some of the contours of how the presence of God does or could comes to be "enfleshed" in sacrament. Eugene McDowell and Meghan Froehlich bring an "incarnational grounding of eucharistic discourse" to the fore by examining how it is in and through the Eucharist – the place where humans participate in the relational life of the Trinity – that participants are transformed to become the body of Christ in the world. Next, Dorothy McDougall draws out the deep ecological contours upon which the incarnational character of sacraments depends, though typically neglected. By so re-imaging the "cosmos as sacrament" we are oriented to an inextricable unity of creation-redemption (ridding us of anthropocentric biases and hegemonic imagery in sacramental theology). Susan Roll looks again at baptism and seeks to draw out its truly sacramental "enfleshment" by considering "women-identified perspectives." By working from embodied self-understandings, dualistic thinking is replaced with a more "generational" imaging of new life and how nature, for example water, is not to be dominated but a nurturer of our faith. Lastly, Jon Pahl takes specifically water – so integrally part of the Christian tradition – and traces out a way in which this taken for granted "element" can bring forth a vital sense of God’s life-giving presence and its call to responsibility.
ISBN: 90-429-1094-1
VABB publication type: VABB-3
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IBe
Appears in Collections:Research Unit of Pastoral and Empirical Theology
Research Unit Systematic Theology - miscellaneous

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