The secular and the sacred

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(Illustration by me)

John Ortberg’s The Life You’ve Always Wanted provided a different perspective on spiritual disciplines. Oftentimes, we consider spiritual disciplines as tedious tasks on our Christian to-do lists. But spiritual disciplines, according to Ortberg, are activities that can help us gain power to live life as Jesus taught and modeled. What struck me is that we confine spiritual disciplines only to a specific time and place but these disciplines should pervade every moment of our lives.

Ortberg quoted verses from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “Aurora Leigh” and I think these verses beautifully depict the situation:

Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes

We adhere to the dichotomy of the secular and the sacred. We step into our prayer closets and we are whisked away into a magical world but when we step out, we return to the bleak and the commonplace. Our intimacy with God doesn’t have to diminish the moment we close our Bibles or conclude our prayers. We can continue to be intimate with Him even as we go through the affairs of our day.

Some of my poignant conversations with God happened while I am commuting. There were also times when I interacted with people and then God revealed something wicked and flawed in my heart. Every moment, no matter how mundane, can be a revelation of the sacred.

I read Isaiah 62:1 this morning and I was astounded:

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet,
until her righteousness goes forth as brightness,
and her salvation as a burning torch.

God desires to speak to us about so many things and it is simply because He loves us. And God will not stop speaking until that day when everything in us is fully conformed to the image of Christ, radiant as daybreak.

The roadside bush is ablaze. Do we turn and take off our sandals?

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