Welcome and thanks for participating in day 5 of the ARISE fast and devotional blog. If you haven’t read the previous days, please go back and read them before reading todays as these thoughts will build off of one another.
Day 5: Sacred and Secular
“I simply argue that the cross should be raised at the center of the marketplace as well as on the steeple of the church. I am recovering the claim that Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles, but on a cross between two thieves; on the town’s garbage heap; at a crossroad so cosmopolitan that they had to write His title in Hebrew and Latin and Greek … at the kind of place where cynics talk smut, and thieves curse, and soldiers gamble. Because that is where He died. And that is what He died for. And that is what He died about. That is where churchmen ought to be and what churchmen ought to be about.” – George Macleod
We all learned antonyms in school. Antonyms are words that mean the opposite of each other. Words like: Love and hate. Brave and Coward. Noisy and quiet. Giant and dwarf. Random and specific. Generous and stingy. Private and public.
Since antonyms are opposites, they don’t usually have any relationship with one another. They are not only seen an opposites, but contrary to one another.
Then, of course, there are oxymorons. Antonyms that when put together form a paradox that creates a description, idea or thought. Things like jumbo shrimp. “Pretty ugly.” “Definite maybe.” “Great depression.” “Virtual reality.” “Original copies.” “Crash landing.” “Bitter sweet” or Charlie Brown’s favorite phrase, “Good grief.”
Some of these are “seriously funny”… Like “Military Intelligence” and “Microsoft Works.” While some are pretty deep like “Free Love” and “Living Sacrifice.” And of course the word oxymoron is actually an oxymoron… In the Greek “oxy” means sharp/wise and “moron” means dull/foolish.
Mark Twain once said “I can resist everything but temptation.” 🙂
Two antonyms that those willing to be part of a Jesus movement must fervently reject are sacred and secular. We have been unintentionally taught that there is a sphere of your life for God and church (sacred), and a sphere of your life for the world (secular).This idea was never in Jesus’ teachings because it’s counterproductive to His plan. It actually removes the influence of Christianity from the world… yet Jesus was a friend of sinners. If the world and all that’s in it belongs to God, then there is no sphere that is not wide open to the rule of God, and should not be seen as such.
So now we have “Christian music and secular music”, “Christian movies and secular movies”, “Christian artists and secular artists,” and so the genres go. Too often, Christians act like they shouldn’t touch the secular and the secular definitely want to make sure the Christians keep their distance… and their faith to themselves. Within this mindset that makes secular and sacred antonyms at war with each other, it creates the idea that Christianity is a personal and private faith (sacred) that should absolutely not, under any circumstances, be practiced in the public (secular) sphere.
This is a separation that the early church movement would have never understood.
People who become a movement realize that God is not a slice of the pie of life, He is the whole pie! The crust, gooey goodness in the middle, the toppings, and even the pie pan are all the Lords. There is no sacred and secular. Every area of our lives are dedicated to God… it’s called total surrender… and it’s the entryway to the Kingdom of God!
People who are part of the movement don’t have “private lives” that are separated from God. We have public lives that shine the love and glory of God into every dark place.
We don’t need “Christian music”… we need “Christians who sing.”
We don’t need “Christian movies”…we need “Christians who produce and direct.”
For most of my childhood, the entire “Christian entertainment” genre was an oxymoron…
Jesus didn’t die for a genre of culture. He died for people. And people who are surrendered to Christ are called to be salt and light in every genre of culture… not corralled into a separate sacred space.
People of the Jesus movement are the same at church as they are at work, at the grocery story, at home, at the movies, at the concert, or at the game. They live a life that’s surrendered to Jesus in every area of their lives, and therefore realize that they are carriers of God’s presence into every place their feet tread.
If you only pray in church, or in private, you may have bought the sacred and secular myth. And like food on a child’s plate, you may think these different things aren’t supposed to touch.
But if you want to be part of a movement that will change the culture you will need to take Jesus with you into the culture. You are salt and light in this world. Salt is only good when it touches something bland, and light is only good when it permeates darkness.
Wherever we go we need to realize that God is already there. When we acknowledge His presence, that place becomes “Bethel”, a holy place where man encounters God.
Sacred and secular are not antonyms. The secular is just the sacred that has yet to be saved.
JOIN THE MOVEMENT by realizing that you are making every place sacred merely by your presence. You are a carrier of the Holy Spirit to the world.
Esse Quam Videri,
Meditate and reflect on these verses and questions:
The Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” 31 Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 32 I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Luke 5:30-32
1. Are you a “friend of sinners?”
2. Is the Holy Spirit in you greater than the pressure of the world? (see 1 John 4:4)
3. In what ways can you be salt and light in your world?
– Ask the Lord where you may have accepted antonyms in your life that He doesn’t desire.
– Pray the Lord revealed ways you can affect your unique environments for Jesus (be salt and light).