Friday, August 24, 2012

Secular and Sacred

Secular and Sacred are two concepts that are always in tension. When we think of the word `secular’ we sometimes equate it with evil but that is not an accurate description. The term was once used to describe any clergy who were not in a monastic order but lived among the common people. Secular is defined as being in or of the world. It connotes a sense of the temporary and of being locked into the present. Secular time is empty of the divine and full of the immediate: what we can see, touch, and experience in the here and now.

When we think of the word  `sacred’ we mean `that which belongs to God. We usually perceive that as something which is eternal or beyond our grasp.  Sacred time is full and includes the past, present and beyond the future. Sacred gives us the greater picture of creation and a more powerful meaning to the world around us. We hold in awe something that has been dedicated or consecrated to God or is an act of worship. We who live in the secular often have a difficult time comprehending the sacred. Yet the sacred is all around us, every bit as much as the secular we recognize so easily.

The resurrection of Jesus the Christ has made it possible for us to live in both the secular and the sacred.  The secular calendar has divided chronological time by the birth of Jesus but it was the resurrection of Jesus that gave us our view of sacred time. Our lives now have meaning because Jesus the Christ has conquered all the things that would defeat us and keep us secular. The cross seemed to stop time but the resurrection expanded our sense of time to include God’s time and that has made all the difference.

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