Christ and the Sacramental Imagination

Upper House Events

15-12-2023 • 1 hr 30 mins

A fundamental difference between the secular and Christian imagination relates to how people view the world. For many, it is assumed that only those things we can physically see and touch are what exist. Scripture teaches, however, that there are two realities that exist alongside each other: one visible and one invisible. Moreover, Christians have long believed that these seen and unseen realities uniquely overlap, first and foremost in Jesus Christ, and consequently in His Church. We might call this way of viewing the world “the sacramental imagination.” It speaks to our profound thirst for the transcendent and is central to how the Bible invites us to see Jesus, the Church, and all creation. Come and explore with us, from a Roman Catholic and Anglican perspective, the biblical roots of these themes, their influence on popular culture, and how they practically shape our faith.


Our presenters, Father Scott Cunningham of Christ Church Madison (Anglican) and Bishop Donald J. Hying of the Catholic Diocese of Madison, each offered a presentation followed by a time of Q&A.

A Portal To Eternity | Father Scott Cunningham, Christ Church Madison

Our modern world is obsessed with stories about portals to another world, from the wardrobe in Narnia to Platform 9¾ at Kings Cross. We are enthralled with the enduring idea that there are worlds that overlap, with openings between them. Where do these stories—and these longings—come from? More importantly, do these fantasies have any correlation to our reality? In addressing these questions, Fr. Scott will lead us to see that the story of Scripture is not only more audacious than modern fiction, but it is also a life-changing reality.

The Word Made Flesh: Jesus Christ as the Source of a Sacramental Vision | Bishop Donald J. Hying, Catholic Diocese of Madison

Because God embraced our humanity in Jesus Christ, stepping into time and space, the entire material world has taken on a new meaning and significance. All of created reality, including our own human identity, becomes an incarnation of the spiritual and invisible. Through this sacramental experience, God reveals Himself to us.


This event was recorded on December 3, 2023.


About our Speakers:

Fr. Scott Cunningham hails from Tennessee and Texas, where he was raised in a family of faith and ministry. He moved to Chicago to study music, theology, and literature at Wheaton College and later earned an M.A. in Biblical Exegesis. Fr. Scott has served in the Anglican communion for almost two decades. For two years he trained for pastoral ministry in churches in Sheffield, England, before returning to serve in the Diocese of the Upper Midwest in the Anglican Church in North America. He was ordained as a Deacon in 2017 and as a priest in 2018. Now Fr. Scott pastors at Christ Church Madison, an Anglican church he and his wife Marissa helped plant in 2018. When Fr. Scott is not serving the Church, you can find him hanging out with his four sons, reading a good book, or playing in bars with his local folk band, the Continental Congress.

Bishop Donald J. Hying was born in West Allis, Wisconsin. After earning his bachelor’s degree from Marquette University and his master’s degree from St. Francis Seminary, Bishop Hying was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. His priestly assignments include parishes in Menomonee Falls, the Dominican Republic, and Milwaukee; he also served as Dean of Formation and rector at Saint Francis de Sales Seminary. In 2011, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Fr. Donald Hying the Titular Bishop of Regiae and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. In 2014, His Holiness, Pope Francis, appointed Bishop Hying as the Fourth Bishop of Gary (Indiana); five years later, His Holiness, Pope...