Faith column: Reclaiming the sacred
With so much chaos around us, so much division, so many issues and problems that press upon us, it’s no wonder that there is a search for answers and solutions that go beyond mere policy or politics.
There is, I believe, a growing desire for many to find meaning and purpose in their lives that is deeper and higher than politics or ideology. In essence, I believe that there is a growing sense that the many crises we face are, at their heart, spiritual in nature.
For all of our nation’s history, we have lived with the false distinction between what we might call, “the spiritual” or religious, and the material or physical world around us that we can describe scientifically. But since the dawn of civilization, human beings have not lived with such a dualistic, divided understanding.
Human beings, up until our modern era, have always had a more holistic view of life, where there was no line between the spiritual and the material. Putting it biblically, we are created for God – we are created to be in relationship with Him, and this affects everything.
“In Him we live, and move, and have our being.”
In such a view, every aspect of our lives is sacred, to be experienced in relation to God.
We, who call ourselves Christians, nevertheless can buy into a view of the world that separates the spiritual from the material.
Do we really believe that God is actively working in the world? Do we actually believe that God can do miracles in our own day? Do we really believe God hears our prayers?
Or, as is often the case, is our faith is something we do on Sunday mornings. The other six days of the week are devoted to the secular, material world.
With all that confronts us, with all that we are experiencing, we are, I believe, beginning to change our view. Deep down, we know that there’s a spiritual problem in our culture, and we’re scrambling to find purpose and meaning.
We have for decades tried to find purpose and meaning in everything but God, and are now reaping a bitter harvest of cutting Him out of our lives.
Our culture has replaced worship of the One True God for the worship of a myriad of lesser ones – gods like consumerism, pleasure seeking, or worship of the State. There is even a kind of religious devotion to causes like environmentalism or anti-racism, as noble as they might be.
This is the very definition of idolatry, when we place any value, any purpose, any ideology, above our worship of God. And let me be clear – this is an issue not just for nonbelievers, but also for Christians in every tradition or denomination.
We may give lip service to being Christian, we may be in church every Sunday; but do the priorities of our lives day to day truly reflect that Christ has transformed us? This is a question we must each ask of ourselves, not pridefully judging others.
Without God, without Him being our highest aim, our highest purpose, we find ourselves divided into countless tribes and identities, demonizing those who don’t believe as we do, or have different values.
St. Paul writes in Galatians 3:28 that “In Christ, there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
He is our purpose. He is our unity. He is Lord, not just on Sunday morning, but every day of the week. When we place Him above every other priority, then we begin to experience the unity of the spiritual with the material.
Every part of our lives is placed in its proper order, and we begin to experience the abundant life Christ came to give. We also know peace, the “peace that passes all understanding,” because our trust is in God alone.
Such peace frees us from anxiety and fear, because we know that Christ will never forsake us. Such peace enables us to bear the Light of Christ in a dark world, and to offer safe haven to those who find themselves struggling in the chaos of the storms that rage around us.
Fr. David Henderson is priest at St. John the Baptist Orthodox Christian Church. He may be reached at email@example.com.
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