The sacramentality of the Word : through the lens of the annunciation to Mary
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This thesis seeks to demonstrate that, in failing to take the sacramentality of the Word seriously, the preaching of the Church has suffered negative consequences. In short, preaching has often become, at best, a form of instruction or, at worst, an incantation of sorts, rather than an integral part of deepening our relationship with Christ by functioning sacramentally to bring about divine participation with Jesus’ corporeal humanity in his living Word. Moreover, this trouble has had a profoundly negative effect on my own Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod due, in part, to our Reformation heritage as Christians who believe, teach, and confess the sole authority and divine inspiration of Holy Scripture. Yet, what has been lost over the past 500 years since the Reformation began is the reality of Christ’s ongoing corporeal presence in and for the Church, particularly as he is present in the viva vox of preaching. In order to recover that reality, I propose that one should consider the annunciation to Mary where, with a sermon of sorts, the corporeal Christ took up residence in the flesh of his hearer. In addition to granting Mary a son, however, this tangible presence of Jesus also delivered to her precisely what was contained within his own flesh: the fullness of the Godhead (Col 2:9). When understood as a biblical paradigm for the Church, it becomes clear that what happened to Mary can, indeed, happen to Christians of the present day. To that end, I propose that preaching today, when understood sacramentally, can deliver the fullness of the person of Christ, who continues to come in corporeality, with humanity and divinity, in the viva vox of preaching.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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