About Providence, Divine Action and the Church

In this blog, Terry J. Wright posts thoughts and shares research on the Christian doctrine of providence. This doctrine testifies to God’s provision for all things through creation’s high priest, the man Christ Jesus. However, the precise meaning and manner of this provision is a perpetually open question, and this blog is a forum for discussion of the many issues relating to providence and the place of the Church within God’s action.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Let's Do Providence!

Here’s another lengthy quotation from John Zizioulas:

The priest is the one who freely and, as himself an organic part of it, takes the world in his hands to refer it to God, and who, in return, brings God’s blessing to what he refers to God. Through this act, creation is brought into communion with God himself.… This role of the human being, as the priest of creation, is absolutely necessary for creation itself, because without this reference of creation to God the whole created universe will die. It will die because it is a finite universe, as most scientists accept today.… Therefore, the only way to protect the world from its finitude which is inherent in its nature, is to bring it into relation with God.

John D. Zizioulas, The Eucharistic Communion and the World, edited by Luke Ben Tallon (London: T&T Clark, 2011), p. 137

Do you see the logic here? Humans participate in God’s providence – specifically, in God’s act of preservation. According to Zizioulas, humans are the priests of the created order, called to offer the world to God and mediate God to the world. It is only by participating in God that the created order can transcend its natural limitations and eschatologically be renewed. The christological application is obvious, at least to me. Jesus of Nazareth is the priest of creation, our great high priest, who makes purification for sins and then rules as King of all things. And through the Spirit’s action, those who constitute Christ’s body – the Church – now live as a priestly people, diffused throughout the world, continually to offer the world to the Father in the name of the Son, Jesus. In so far as Jesus rules providentially over all things, those who are in Christ also rule providentially over all things. But this providential rule is not political or tyrannical; it is precisely that aforementioned act of offering the world to the Father, through prayer and through the Church’s obedience. This offering is how the Church does providence.

1 comment:

  1. I like this. The notion of offering myself to God comes readily.

    Offering the world back to God (as you say in prayer) is interesting and essential and overlooked I suspect. At times joyful and at times pleading for it all to end when you see what the world can produce.

    Simon Mander.