Life as Communion

If I had to choose one recent (written in the past fifty years) book to buy for everyone I know, to have in stacks in front of a church with a poster: READ THIS BOOK, it would probably be For the Life of the World by Fr Alexander Schmemann.

In our perspective… the “original” sin is not primarily that man has “disobeyed” God; the sin is that he ceased to be hungry for Him and for Him alone, ceased to see his whole life depending on the whole world as a sacrament of communion with God. The sin was not that man neglected his religious duties. The sin was that he thought of God in terms of religion, i.e., opposing Him to life. The only real fall of man is his noneucharistic life in a noneucharistic world. The fall is not that he preferred the world to God, distorted the balance between the spiritual and material, but that he made the world material, whereas he was to  have transformed it into “life in God,” filled with meaning and spirit. (1973, 18)

If anyone who wanted to talk about how being a “Jesus follower” is “a relationship, not a religion,” practiced by “giving up everything,” and encompasses it in a “worldview” like that, I shall be quite content.


2 thoughts on “Life as Communion

  1. Clever. I’m not sure I fully understand, to me he is not really talking about original sin, but supposes that another sin existed before original sin. So that original sin really wasn’t the “original” sin (at least not primarily). Is that right?

    1. I had thought that he was saying that the sinfulness of the original sin wasn’t legal but rather relational — that their attitude was, as Fr John puts it, “I don’t really want you God, just your stuff” — and that while all Creation was to be primarily a means of communion with God, as when someone (Bishop Anthony Bloom?) says “all food is the love of God made edible.” Except that one tree. So I see it as trying to describe a different perspective on what was sinful about the original sin.

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