Lots of folks are writing about it. It’s the imaginary barrier between sacred and secular, the common practice of compartmentalizing our faith, our work, our family, and our friends. Each part of life goes in its own little box. And ne’er the twain shall meet…
The divide is one reason why our churches struggle. If what happens on Sunday has nothing to do with Monday, people are going to go looking for something that does. If Thursday is off-limits on Sunday, what do we have that’s actually helpful to do in our time together?
The sacred-secular divide.
When I first heard that term, I started thinking Leviticus—the book where Bible reading plans go to die.
Leviticus is chock full of holiness codes. Don’t mix the holy and the unholy. Don’t let the common defile the uncommon. Don’t let the secular contaminate the sacred. I started to wonder if all the talk of the sacred-secular divide was in direct contradiction with the message of a book like Leviticus.
A light-bulb went off for me when I was reading in my New Testament.
Peter tells us that we are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a priestly kingdom (1 Peter 2:9). John said in his Revelation that through the blood of Jesus we all have been made into priests and kings (Revelation 5:10).
As priests, we are sanctifiers. We are people who are in the holy-making business. We bring what once was secular to the God who can make it holy. That’s what I had been missing!
Even if Leviticus was all we had, the goal of Leviticus was to bring all things into holiness. The goal was to make all things holy. Check out Leviticus 11:44, 19:2, and 20:7. They all say the same thing: be holy like God.
When Jesus got in trouble for eating with tax collectors and sinners and whatever other seedy characters you could find, it was because people didn’t understand this: the purpose of the sacred is not barricade itself in and protect itself from the influence of the secular. The saints aren’t meant to pat each other on the back for not being like those sinners over there. The purpose of the holy is to bring the common to God and spread that holiness.
So when you and I look at the things around us that get labeled as “secular” – our jobs, our hobbies, our friends, our dentist – as priests in the Kingdom of Jesus, we have one driving question: how do we treat this as holy?
That’s how we knock down that divide and give meaning to all 168 hours of a week. That’s how the power of Sunday comes to Monday.