The Sacramental Significance of Our Bodies

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Video Presentation Outline

I. Introduction
II. Sacrament of Baptism
III. Sacrament of Lord’s Supper
IV. Building Block 6: Our Sacramental Presence in the World
V. Building Block 7: Our Sacramental Presence in the Ordinary Tasks
VI. Three Dichotomies Challenged by Sacramental Presence
A. Clergy vs. Laity
B. Compensated vs. Complimentary
C. Spiritual Work vs. Secular Work

Discussion Guide

Discuss any major takeaways or memorable moments from this teaching session. Did you learn anything new? Was anything particularly challenging? How would you summarize this presentation to a non-Christian friend?

1. Biblical Foundations
Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, “Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matt. 26:26–28 ESV)

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Col. 3:17)

How would you describe a sacrament in your own words? In the first passage we see Jesus performing a sacramental deed, while in the second passage we are instructed to engage in daily deeds in a particular way. What is their connection? How can deeds done with this particular attitude serve as a conduit of grace to others?

2. Theological Foundations
The church is the outpost of the new creation in Adam’s world. (Sandra Richter)

What is your reaction to the thought of your body being a holy mystery (sacrament) in the world? As a Christian, do you strive more to blend into your surrounding culture or to distinguish yourself with your words and deeds? How does this relate to your life anticipating new creation?

3. Practical Implications
The gulf between the spiritual and the earthy or practical is relentlessly pulling apart what God has brought together. The body, as it turns out, is not merely the conduit of the “means of grace” in a formal sense—but is the very “means of grace” that invades the whole of our lives, even the daily tasks which this world has deemed menial and unimportant. (Timothy Tennent, For the Body)

What are the mundane or routine tasks you face daily that are a burden to you? Are there any vocations or lifestyles that you have coveted and perhaps viewed through an idealistic lens? Try to imagine what those lifestyles would look like realistically. If you were to write a prayer to God asking him to help you see the way we can receive and embody grace in daily routines, what would you say?

Read the Seven Building Blocks for a Theology of the Body here.

This is an excerpt from Timothy Tennent’s new book, For the Body Video Study Guide. Through these pages, you will:

  • Understand why our bodies matter on a host of issues
  • Discover a positive vision for human sexuality
  • Be equipped to live & engage culture from a biblical perspective

Tennent explores the contours of a robust Christian vision of the body and human sexuality and the variety of different ways we are called into relationships with others. This book is a call to a deeper understanding of our body and an invitation to recapture the wonder of this amazing gift. It is a theological vision that informs our self-understanding, how we treat others, and how we engage today’s controversial and difficult discussions on human sexuality with grace, wisdom, and confidence.

Get it from our store here

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Timothy C. Tennent is the President of Asbury Theological Seminary and a Professor of Global Christianity. His works include Invitation to World Missions: A Trinitarian Missiology for the Twenty-first Century and Theology in the Context of World Christianity: How the Global Church Is Influencing the Way We Think about and Discuss Theology. He blogs at timothytennent.com and can be followed on twitter @TimTennent.

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