-Joshua M. Casey
In 1687, Sir Isaac Newton published his Law of Universal Gravitation, which states that any two objects in the universe are attracted to each other by an invisible force, with the strength of the attraction based on their mass and distance. While this law gave a better understanding of the observable universe, it also raised a great many questions, eventually leading to Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity in 1915, which explains that gravity is not attraction between bodies, but a property of spacetime, theorizing that both space and time are curved or bent by matter and energy, which we experience as gravity.
In Isaiah’s vision of God in the Temple (Isa 6), the seraphim proclaim God’s holiness, saying, “The whole earth is full of His glory.” The Hebrew word for “glory” (kavod) means, among other things, weight or heaviness. Essentially, the earth is saturated with the gravity of God. His presence is unmistakably known, its effects utterly real, even if the acting force is invisible. Sometimes, this force–this presence–is as obvious as an apple falling from a tree. Other times, it’s mysterious as a distant star’s light bent by our sun’s gravity well.
This God, who makes all things persistently new by His very presence, who is both Alpha and Omega, Beginning and End, who unifies Past and Future into the “simplicity of a perpetual present,” is for us the source of a Life more real and lasting than that which we know in this world so bound to entropy and death. In the Eucharist we experience the mysterious God bending space and time to meet with us in the here and now, making the gravity of His presence felt through the gift of His Son, Jesus, in the bread and cup.
When Christ gave us this Meal, He told us to do it as an act of remembrance: of making real again His life, death, and resurrection. Now this “memory” is not some sad recollection of one long gone, but active participation in One who is eternally alive. For just as Christ’s presence on earth was a bending of space and time (the Infinite-Eternal stepping into a specific point and place in history), so our reception through faith of the bread and cup as Jesus Himself is a recognition that this bending of spacetime is still happening. We remember, receive, the very real Life of Christ, take it into ourselves, then turn and become a veritable Eucharist for a hungry and thirsty world dying to receive and remember. As Schmemann said, “We recall, in other words, both the past and the future as living in us, as given to us, as transformed into our life and making it life in God.”
About The Author
Joshua M. Casey worked as a campus pastor for eight years and is passionate about connecting the church of today to the practices of our past. He lives in Bloomington, IN with his family and writes regularly at joshuamcasey.wordpress.com and can be found on Twitter @thejmcasey and Facebook.com/jmcasey7.