How do you make life sacred? In talking with a group of friends Wednesday at Aroma's, the question came up, "Can you make someone go to church?" The question was asked by an older gentleman who works from the paradigm that everyone ought to go to church, and everyone knows that. I, however, work from the paradigm that I am a part of the church, and that I should "bring church" to them. So, with a bit of a lively discussion, my wheels got turning on a side thought. How did the Master Teacher bring the sacred to the secular (for lack of better terms)?
On one hand, it seems simple: we are spiritual people, so where we are is spiritual space. But that can also be said of followers of other religions. What makes the space we inhabit sacred, and not just spiritual? Leonard Sweet, in his book "Soul Salsa," has a great discussion on this. His first chapter is entitled "Mezuzah Your Universe: Soul Artists Sacramentalize Whatever They Touch." What a great tag! Understanding that a sacrament is a symbolic representation (i.e. baptism and communion), we begin to see that sacramentalizing things becomes an opportunity to bring symbolic meaning to the common things of life, like the Jews did with the phylactery and the mezuzah. They built reminders into their every day lives (rituals) to help grow their souls by modulating the mundane into the eternal.
Sweet draws out an important point in this discussion. This point communicates a great way for us to understand our lives as spiritual and sacred. There is a difference between a sacrament, and "sacramentals." In sacraments (again, baptism and communion), sanctifying grace is communicated by the act itself. For instance, baptism is a great picture of one thing: salvation. A sacramental, however, can be an everyday object or life that reveals "the 'signs of the Trinity' (Augustine), which are everywhere in creation when viewed through the eyes of faith." So, what do we do to celebrate and see these signs in our everyday life? How do we build into our everyday happenings rituals that remind us of the presence of the divine around us, and communicate the grace of the Trinity to those who are seeking? How do the patterns of my daily life reveal the grace of the cross to those who watch? Jesus did this in a masterful way. Not only did His life model it, but bread, water, wind, harvest, seeds, children, fire, weeds, leaven, wine (mundane, everyday things) became instrumental expressions to help people see the kingdom. My heart stirs as I wonder how to use my laptop, coffee, books, truck, wind, water, children, family, marriage, soccer, volleyball, clothing to express the simple truth of the kingdom. What a wonderful opportunity looms before modern Christ-followers. Perhaps, by way of comment, you might share some of the rituals you've built into your life as an expression of grace to the world around you.
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