The Dissolution of the Sacred / Secular Divide, Part 2: Holy Ground

This is Holy ground
We’re standing on Holy ground
For the Lord is present and where He is is Holy

We are standing on Holy ground
And I know that there are angels all around
Let us praise Jesus now
We are standing in Your presence
On Holy ground

The terms “missional” and “incarnational” have become trendy buzzwords in Christian churches these days. Scores of books devoted to these topics have littered the Christian literature landscape in recent years. Many a church board has revisioned its purpose statement to include “missional” or “incarnation” or “missional incarnation” or “incarnational mission”. And yet, at the risk of being both trendy and buzzword-ish, I submit to you that the Christian life is indeed both missional and incarnational.

Despite their overexposure in some Christian circles, these terms carry much theological freight. “Missional” is an emerging term that describes the life of discipleship. Missional living is simply participating in the ongoing mission and activity of God in practical ways. It’s a life of lived-out-faith. It’s a connectivity between theology and practice, faith and ethics. Missionals perceive the church as an alternative community; rather than mimicking the surrounding culture, missionals live in radical counter-cultural obedience to Christ. “Incarnational” is similarly defined. Simply put, Christians are to live as incarnations of their Lord. Isn’t that what discipleship is all about anyway? As one mentor of mine prays every morning, “Lord, help me to live this day as if Jesus were living it in my place.” That’s at the heart of incarnational living.

We have to get away from this notion that our church buildings are “holy places”. For too long, we’ve held to this understanding of church as a place, a location, where “holy” things take place. While there may be some truth to that understanding, by default we’ve labeled all other places as “secular” and thus, separate from our “sacred” lives. Even our hymnology reflects this attitude to a certain degree (see above). Sure, we give a nod toward God-presence as the source of true holiness, but we naively believe that God-presence is only found at our places of worship during our worship services. With this line of thinking, we further entrench the sacred / secular divide.

Missional, incarnational Christianity embraces the understanding that all human life is lived in the presence of God. Rather than limiting God-experience to Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings, missional living is characterized by an awareness of God-presence at all times. The sacred ground of God-presence extends to every corner of my life, not just my time of participation in corporate worship on Sunday. I think God is at least equally concerned with how I live away from the “holy ground” of the church building. It seems to me the “holy ground” God most wants to inhabit is my heart.

Missional, incarnational Christianity knows nothing of a sacred / secular divide. To live missionally and incarnationally means to live as if it all belongs to Jesus.

This entry was posted in Church, Devotional, Discipleship, Sacred / Secular Divide, Theology. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Dissolution of the Sacred / Secular Divide, Part 2: Holy Ground

  1. Scott says:

    Good stuff. We can’t go on the way we have and continue to be relevant.

  2. T.H. says:

    let it be so! you know my heart in this discussion, and i appreciate your willingness to flesh this discussion out in the public sphere. although the terms, missional and incarnational my be relatively unfamiliar in our own circles, they are indeed proper and powerful words to help direct our attitude concerning the sacred/secular divide. thanks for the thoughts!

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