Guest Post: Sacred vs. Secular

This awakening post is shared by John Pope. He is the elder of preaching and teaching at Refuge City Church in Dayton, OH. 

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On October 31, 1517 a young boisterous monk burst on the scene debunking the predominant views held by the worldwide church. The young man’s name was Martin Luther. While I do not condone everything Luther condoned, I do believe his writing still has much to offer us today. For the sake of this article, I will be talking about his view of the priesthood of all believers and the faith of everyday work.

Luther’s views of these two things are culminated together in his view of calling. For Luther the calling of God is not just in mere matters of salvation or church officers, but the calling of God is into every aspect of our being. Therefore, in the kingdom of God there are different callings, but no one is greater than the other. The calling of the pastor is not more sacred than the calling of the architect or lawyer. One author put it this way, “For Luther, even the smallest work performed at the right place in response to a divine commission stands ethically on the same level as that which appearances suggest is the greatest work.”

Why does Luther come to this conclusion? It is because the highest calling of every Christian is the calling of the Gospel of God. Within in the calling is a calling to be a royal priesthood, thus the fulfilling the duties of Israel (cf. I Pet 2.9-10). God has called his people to the highest position in the communities in which they live. The old adage the some work for the welfare of the community while others pray for the welfare of the community is no more. That was under the old way of doing things (namely the OT). Now everyone is called to pray and work for the welfare of his or her community.

What am I trying to get at here? I am trying to make the case that the wall of sacred vs. secular has been torn down. The people of God have been liberated by the power of the Gospel. We are now free to live how Christ lives—doing everything for the glory of God. Not some things. Everything!

Many of us have seen the priest or the nun walking around in our community. They wear the simple black and white garb that is clearly distinguishable. For the Christian we called the wear the priestly garbs of Christ. We are all called to be the priests of our neighborhoods. We are all called to be the priest of our work places. We are all called to be the priest of our parks. This is not just the calling of some Christians, but also the calling of every Christian. We are called to intercede on behalf of the people around us. Priests stand between God and the people who have sinned against Him.

How do we do this practically? For me and the people I am trying to lead this means that we strive to find the places where God is calling us to stand in between Him and the people He wants to pour His grace on. For instance, we will not do a block party in our neighborhood, because our city does block parties much better than we do. A block party is not an unholy thing, but it is not a holy thing either. By being present and gaining trust and gaining influence we can allow God to use to redeem these things as holy. We try to figure out what the people in our community are doing and join them. We do not hide the fact that we are “priest”, but celebrate with them the grace and freedom of God.

What I see in the Gospel is the God of all creation, perfectly holy, coming into a world of imperfect sinful wicked people. Yet, He lives among us. Eats what we eat. Drinks what we drink. Sleeps the way we sleep. The major difference is He does this all to the glory of God. This is one of the major marks of Jesus’ ministry. Jesus has called us to think through how we watch our TV, read our books, attend our concerts, make new friends and do life with old ones. We still live in imperfect sinful wicked world full of people longing for something better. Let’s not separate everything as sacred vs. secular, but show them how Jesus can take their secular things and bring true lasting joy through the glory of God.

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