A sacred worldview assumes that the limits of human perception do not exhaust the infinite possibilities of our shared reality. It embraces the fact that reality is not what it seems to the senses – it is always more. We do not find out what is real just by seeing, touching, smelling, hearing, or tasting things.
We can see, hear, and smell from afar, but with taste, we must completely give ourselves over to the object we consume. When food enters our mouth, dissolves in our saliva, and goes into our stomach, it becomes part of us. It affects us – empowering, enabling, delighting or disgusting us. But there can be no impact apart from direct experience.
Through touch we receive sacraments and by touching others we become sacraments of God to others. The limitation of touch is its greatest strength. In order to physically touch others we must be in their immediate presence. Touch connects us with others – not as abstractions – but as “neighbors” God has placed in our lives.
God ordained worship to be full of sweet fragrances and pleasing aromas. True worship was meant to smell good. Those immersed in worship would go away bearing this smell into the world. The scriptures call us to make our lives a fragrant aroma to God. The very name “Christ” carries with it the memory of sacred smell. “Christ” is Greek for “the Anointed One.”
Sacred words are a means of grace, a sacrament of Christ, a tool of the Spirit. Attentive listening with “ears that hear” is our way to appropriate these words, receive the sacrament, and be shaped by the Spirit. Listening is not passive or non-participatory. It is a spiritual discipline. We do not simply listen; we listen worshipfully!