Sacred Vs. Secular
by Rev. Dale L. Veach, Ph.D.
Presented by Saint Luke Evangelical School Of Biblical Studies

During the Renaissance, the cultural revival period and beginnings of modern science in Europe in the 14th –17th centuries, many events occurred that would play a major role in the happenings from the period 1700-1950AD. Prior to this period and before the Crusades for dominance of the Holy Land, the people's very existence revolved solely around their belief in God and the Church. For these people, the Church and following Gods law was their entire existence. Many townspeople, monks, friars and bishops devoted a lifetime to the Church and the building of great massive cathedrals. For them the Church was the center of life itself. Entire lives were devoted to God and Gods' word. The Church provided shelter, jobs, food, education, security and medical treatment. It's no wonder that the great churches and cathedrals were built in the centers of town, representing the center of life, the center of continuity for many.

The Renaissance provided a period of time where society became less and less dependent on the Church for the needs of the people. Great and powerful nations would begin to arise; Travelers would discover new worlds and the guidance of knowledge would slowly begin to shift from faith to scientific. What could not be proven became less important. So became the spirit of "secularism" or worldliness. Against the proven "rules" of scientific scholars, religion, faith and the Church had to begin defending their beliefs and values. When this period began, people still used candles or oil for light, they walked or rode horses for travel, and cloth was still being woven by hand. The planting and harvesting of crops were too done by hand. Cows and goats provided milk while butter was churned by hand. But the "world" was becoming smaller and smaller. A mere 250 years later people were traveling by jet plane, they could watch events happen on television in their nice warm heated homes, autos replaced the horse and buggy for transportation and "work" was for a corporation, a business, or individual, not for the Church. Whole new manufacturing systems and factories were built while railroads and steamships revolutionized transportation. People began to move from the farms and open lands to the cities and towns where they could find work, and the new "god", money.

Today, a very short fifty years later, technology and science move at an alarming rate. The races to cure cancer, genetic altering, and biological and chemistry breakthroughs' occur on a regular basis. It is almost so commonplace we even take these for granted. The population of the world has doubled several times over and great wars have been fought with might and weapons so powerful they could end life, as we know it. Now when one opens a newspaper today he/she is greeted by stock market quotes (money god), business mergers (greed god), and crimes of the day such as murder, robbery, and drugs (hate god). All the "news" that is bad to see is presented to us in palatable forms for us to see and read about. We just shake our heads and think "what a shame"; thank God that it was not us or our family and we then go right back to our little secular lives, in our little secular towns and our little secular jobs. And secular humanists, sprouted of this time, challenge all religion, trying to prove that neither God nor Jesus ever existed. How sad this is! Once people spent their entire lives FOR God, now they spend their lives trying to disprove God!

What has happened to our God? What has happened to our faith? What has happened to our Church? What was once the entire center of civilization has now been removed to a few Sundays, Christmas and Easter services. When Jesus called upon the disciples to follow him, they were told to give up their "worldly" possessions, follow him and devote their lives to teaching His word. Today, that seems so impractical for one must "work" to survive in today's world. Yet as God feeds the smallest of animals through the harshest of winters, would he not do the same for us? Matt 7:7 tells us "ask and it shall be given, seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened for you." We have forgotten that God will provide for us. We are so blinded by money and "providing" for our families, we have forgotten about God providing for His families. And so, for the most of us, religion and our faith are practiced "when we can find the time". What's wrong with right now, this day, this minute? What's wrong with setting aside 10 minutes everyday for devotion to the Lord and giving thanks? After all, isn't He the one that gave us everything here? We have lost the notion that it is through Divine intervention that many of the great secrets of life have been exposed for us to wonder about. God is before us in everything, everyday, yet we do not see for we are blinded by our own self-indulgence.

While the Churches of the world look to service to others and attempt to increase that service, we as individuals, we the community, we the laity, need to focus our lives more on the way Jesus wanted us to live. We need to help each other, we need to share with each other and we need to work and love together to build greater religious and faithful communities devoted to serving God by serving others. We, the individuals, need to become more involved, more active and more giving in our religious activities. And God shall be there for us. To lead us. We are told in Deut. 28:77 " the Lord shall lead thee". We need to let God lead us. We need to govern ourselves by Gods word and laws and not by democratic, hypocritical laws and regulations. We must live by Gods commandments. Today, more than ever, the Gospel message and "community mission" must align and be the same, directing people back to the basics of faith, the basics of religion and the basics of Jesus teachings just as they were lived two thousand years ago. We must continue to be the disciples of Christ, carrying the message to others anywhere and anytime we can, not just on Sundays or when we "can spare the time". We must be the body, the blood and spirit of God, working daily to spread the Word. Through unity of the community and the Church, we can and will begin to change the world.

Try your best to let Gods Spirit keep your hearts united. Do this by living in peace. All of you are part of the same body. There is only one Spirit of God, just as you were given one hope when you were chosen to be Gods people. We have only one Lord, one faith and one baptism. There is one God who is the Father of all people. Not only is God above all others, but he works by using all of us and he lives in all of us.
(Ephesians 4:3-6)

God is in us, all of us and going forward we must be the deliverers, the messengers and carry the burden of spreading the faith and the Word of God. Devotion to Scripture and Liturgy must become our daily reading, not the local hate news. We must watch our children grow in faith, being models for them and watch over their lives helping them grow in faith and love for God as well as one another. We must watch out and care for our brothers and sisters as they did thousands of years ago, and not be blinded by the hypocrites on televisions' mindless shows and depressing "news". We must continue as our ancestors did, living by the Word and believing in our faith each and every day, making it the center of our lives as they did. For when we have lost our faith, lost our religion and our Church, we have lost the very essence of ourselves, our souls. Change must come from within and we must forget the burden of "secularism" and carry the burden as our Father gives us.

If you are tired from carrying heavy burdens, come to me and I shall give you rest. Take the yoke I give you. Put it on your shoulders and learn from me. I am gentle and humble and you will find rest. This yoke is easy to bear and this burden is light.
(Matthew 11:28-30)

I do not speak to you as my servants, I speak to you as my friends and I have told you everything that my Father has told me. You did not choose me for I chose you and sent you out to produce fruit, the kind of fruit that will last. Then my Father will give you whatever you ask for in my name. So I command you to love each other, as I have loved you.
(John 15:15-17)

God has given each and every one of us unique and special gifts. But these gifts are not for us to hoard or gloat over. They are to be shared. We must use them to live as God commands, to love one another, to live by Gods' commandments and to trust in Gods' words. Not just sometimes, but every second of every minute, of every hour of every day. We must live it, talk it, believe it and teach it. We are the disciples and messengers of the 21st century. The only thing that has changed over the last 2 thousand years is us… God hasn't.

copyright 2000 Rev. Dale L. Veach, Ph.D.
Used by permission.