Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday Afternoon Tea

I've been pondering this past week how the whole of my life is made up of choices which are both secular and sacred.

Our most important choice, of course, is at the core of everything we do.  Do we believe Jesus is who He says He is? 

Is Jesus truly the Son of God or is He... as Lewis says is the only other option... a liar and a lunatic?
I believe He is Son of God, Savior, Messiah... and my choices should reflect this decision.

But I wonder sometimes if our lives are separated too much by what we consider "lived for Him" and our "everyday life"... the secular and the sacred?

Oh, there are definitely times... when I have sat in a great Cathedral, spent time in prayer, or listened to glorious music... that I have truly known that spiritual experience of the Sacred... but what about the everyday?

Is it less sacred to raise my own children as Christ followers than it is to teach Sunday School?  Is it more sacred to work full time in a ministry than to get up each morning knowing the day will be busy, fix breakfast, change diapers, walk the dog, dry the tears on a small child's face, listen to a teenager, and as our husband shares the challenges of his day?

Should I be disappointed my son designs apps for computers and smart phones rather than working as a missionary?   That he works for a Christian and is a Christian in a secular field where few people know the Lord?

I don't think so. 

Recently my daughter called to share a paragraph from a book she was reading, words which caused me to cringe.  The author was putting down a Christian student because he found her choice of profession to be anti-Christian.

So... what was her choice?  A cocktail waitress?  A professional poker player?  Perhaps a nurse for Planned Parenthood?  No, she would be working in the environmental sciences.

Of course, Stephanie knew what I would say already.

Who is to be Salt and Light if the Christian doesn't enter that profession?  What about the Christian influence in the media (and God only knows how much we could use that today)?  What about the Christian doctor, lawyer, candlestick maker?

Schaeffer... all the way back to circa' 1970's... warned from the pulpits of America as well as the mountains of Switzerland, if the Church continues to tell their young people it is more spiritual to be a missionary than to work in politics, the media, medicine, law, movies, etc., then the Church will no longer be an influence in society and the result will be the secularization of the Culture.

Which is exactly what has occurred.

Now, I am not saying there is no true spiritual calling to a full time Christian service... missionary, pastor, priest, teacher, musician, etc.

Having worked as both paid and volunteer staff in churches, I am well aware of what is required of people in those positionsThey must be called from God to walk in the demands of full time Christian service.

But by differentiating that one calling is spiritual and the other is not... that serving God as a pastor is sacred but serving Him as a mayor is not... is how we lost the culture.  We were called to be The Salt of the Earth and The City on a Hill and The Light in the Darkness.

If our light is only within the confines of the four walls of a building, the secular will not know the influence of the sacred.

If God calls a young Christian to work in a "secular" position, He will equip that person with all that is necessary to be that Salt and Light in the midst of those who do not know Him.  As mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, siblings, and friends... we also have a call to keep such young people in prayer as they are surrounded by those who do not share their morals and faith.

As for those of us who are homemakers... like Brother Lawrence, I feel His presence in my kitchen.   I feel the Sacred as the snow is falling outside and an apron is wrapped around my waist, the bread is baking, and the soup is simmering.

In the month of June, I feel the Sacred when I weed the garden and the pole beans are sprouting buds, the lettuce is ready to cut, and my herbs are attracting butterflies and bees.

How can one not feel the Sacred in the most ordinary of days?

I know we will experience the Sacredness of dining at the Wedding Feast of the Lamb... but can we also feel the Sacred Presence when we gather around the table here in the Shadowlands?

Which leaves one still more to ponder...

Picture:  Her Office,


Thickethouse.wordpress said...

Surely the sacred is what God wants you to be doing. And if you are a wife and mother one of the first things He must want is for you to do that well, as well as you can.

terricheney said...

Oh Brenda...I so struggled with this at one point in my life when we reading of Heidi and Roland Baker who devote their lives to missionary work. Reading their bio I felt so shamed that I don't spend hours each day in prayer. And then I got angry because WHO was going to do my work here at home if I spent all my time face down on the floor?

One morning, as I struggled with that question at the kitchen sink, God spoke to me and called mine a Kitchen Sink Ministry. He imparted to me that the work I did for my family each day WAS sacred work whether it was providing clean sheets or shopping for groceries or washing dishes. I wept with the realization that I WAS doing what God called me to do.

We do NEED Christians in Enviornmental Services, and in hospitals and schools. We need them in accounting positions and in movies, in every single aspect of life.

Thoughts for the day said...

Our pastor was teaching today in Luke where Jesus asked the question, "who do you think I am?" Very interesting question considering he was asking those who had lived with him, watched him perform miracles, seen him pray and love on the marginal people.
It is a question for all of us to ask, "who is he in our life?"

Anonymous said...

Good message. I am 55 and homeschooling my 14 yr old son. My two daughters and one sil are entering their late 20's are solid Christians and I have been able to breath a sigh of relief....but now my teen son. My concern is that he will be a man who loves the Lord with all his heart and soul. So far, so good! And that he will know when to say NO, and to flee when he needs to flee, and he will be a light in a dark world. I shudder as I know he will be out there in the secular world at some point earning a living. It is probably more scary for me that him! Your post gave me some comfort - Thanks! Rhonda up in New York State

Anonymous said...

Oh my, this hits home. My husband has worked in secular mental health for 30 years. You would not believe the comments he has had to endure from fellow Christians! Dee

loralie said...

Well put.
I have always believed that no matter what great & wonderful things I might do in a ministry capacity, if my children were not raised to love God & believe in Christ, I had failed. My first calling was to my family. Now that my children are grown, God calls me to serve in other areas.

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

Years ago I read a book that called for good, Godly people to take an active role in the secular world, including politics. The underlying message was that if good people abandoned certain arenas of our culture (both financial and political) then the vacuum would be filled, and the arenas eventually overrun, by those without a similar moral compass. In my opinion the good Lord needs His influence in all areas... we each must follow the paths we believe we're called to take.
Tracey xox

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said...

Years ago I read a book that called for good, Godly people to participate in often avoided arenas such as business and politics. The author reminded us that for good people to neglect such areas would create a vacuum that would be filled by those who had a different moral compass. We each must weigh and consider our life paths and, once decided upon, do them with all our hearts. :)
Tracey xox

Vicki in UT said...

If everyone were full-time clergy, there would be nobody left to raise the food, make the clothing, print the books, bear and rear chilren, etc. God told Adam and Eve that by the sweat of their brows they would eat; He expects us to work for a living, and to bear and nurture and raise children, including cooking and washing dishes and changing diapers and doing laundry. None of that takes anything away from our spirituality. I think your take on it is absolutely right.

Judy said...

I was always very sure of the sacred being present in the ordinary when I was a stay-at-home mum with children. It seemed very clear that doing laundry, cleaning dirty dishes and baths, went right along with reading stories and devotional times - they were part of the job of shaping them in Christ-likeness. It's much harder to identify the sacred in secular work - I'm not sure that personal integrity, truthfulness,or a passion for doing a job well will will ever result in the 'making disciples' to which he calls us, and yet, along with Schaeffer, I remain convinced that Christians are to be salt and light there.
Another thoughtful blog, Brenda.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

Yes, yes, yes!

We as Christians have the Holy Spirit living in us, every thing we do can bring glory to Him! Even diaper changing!

I pray every night that my children will walk with Him in whatever He gives them to do, including daily life. I pray that for my husband and myself as well!


Cheryl (Copperswife) said...

Amen! My husband is nearing the completion of his 33 years as a deputy sheriff. Talk about thankless work! And the comments from Christians about his needing to work on Sunday, or needing to spend so much time in horrible environments, have always surprised me. Do they think crime stops on Sunday? Do they think the bad guys will walk out of the darkness and into the light on their own?

He has worked those 33 years as a Christian man. Now our oldest son is working his very first full time job packing window blinds for a major manufacturer. If he does that packing, labeling and wrapping as unto the Lord, then I am happy for the job the Lord has provided.

Vee said...

This one has caused me to ponder much and I'm not sure that what I have to say is of value so I'll keep my mouth shut...for once. =D

Anonymous said...

I love Vee's comment today. Good girl.
Sharon D.

Tracey McBride ~ Frugal Luxuries® said... sorry for the double post! :)

Unknown said...

I'm reading a book at the moment that says if we viewed the world through the lens that the Church does, which is Christ's eyes, then ALL that we do should be holy, from the least body part to the most important. Providing ofcourse we are not actively engaged in a sinful profession, by that I'm thinking of pole dancer or some such!!!!!