For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)
Since Christ died for all of us, we should live for Him, rather than living a selfish or self-centered life. Living for Christ tells us that the world has meaning to it – a meaning and value which Christ imbued it with (both at creation and in the incarnation). Rather than seeing the universe as being nothing more than atoms and molecules interacting in a meaningless universe, we believe the physical world has a spiritual value, which if we faith, we can experience in this life. Fr Alexander Schmemann comments:
… secularism is a lie about the world. ‘To live in the world as if there were no God!’ – but honesty to the Gospel, to the whole Christian tradition, to the experience of every saint and every word of Christian liturgy demands exactly the opposite: to live in the world, seeing everything in it, as a revelation of God, a sign of His presence, the joy of His coming, the call to communion with Him, the hope for fulfillment in Him. Since the day of Pentecost there is a seal, a ray, a sign of the Holy Spirit on everything for those who believe in Christ and know that He is the life of the world – and that in Him the world in its totality, has become again a liturgy, a communion, an ascension. . . .
It is only as we return from the light and the joy of Christ’s presence that we recover the world as a meaningful field of our Christian action, that we see the true reality of the world and thus discover what we must do. Christian mission is always at its beginning. It is today that I am sent back into the world in joy and peace, ‘having seen the true light,’ having partaken of the Holy Spirit, having been a witness of divine Love.
What am I going to do? What are the Church and each Christian to do in this world? What is our mission?
To these questions there exists no answer in the form of practical ‘recipes.’ ‘It all depends’ on thousands of factors—and, to be sure, all faculties of our human intelligence and wisdom, organization and planning, are to be constantly used. Yet—and this is the one ‘point’ we wanted to make in these pages – ‘it all depends’ primarily on our being real witnesses to the joy and peace of the Holy Spirit, to that new life of which we are made partakers in the Church. The Church is the sacrament of the Kingdom—not because she possesses divinely instituted acts called ‘sacraments,’ but because first of all she is the possibility given to man to see in and through this world the ‘world to come,’ to see and to ‘live’ it in Christ.
It is only when in the darkness of this world we discern that Christ has already ‘filled all things with Himself’ that these things, whatever they may be, are revealed and given to us full of meaning and beauty. A Christian is the one who, wherever he looks, finds Christ and rejoices in Him. And this joy transforms all his human plans and programs, decisions and actions, making all his mission the sacrament of the world’s return to Him who is the life of the world. (FOR THE LIFE OF THE WORLD, pp 112-113)