Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right, Christ on my left, Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit, Christ when I stand, Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me. Amen. St Patrick
God stopped me the other day as I was reading a book on the church by Alan Hirsch (The Forgotten Ways). He was talking about the idea of sacred vs secular, in that the way church is set up today it can foster an idea in the individual church goer that church is for entering the sacred space with God and the rest of the week is living in the secular world apart from God. This, of course, made me think about wether we as Christians living dual lives. On Sunday we enter the scared putting on a façade of holiness (intentional or not) while living the week as if God is unaware or absent in our daily life, temptations and even sins. The question becomes then is this the way God wants us as believers to live, a dual life with one foot in the pool of sacred and the rest in the dry land of the world. I would hope your answer is no.
Paul wrote to a church in crisis; the Corinthian church had been plagued with many sorts of sins and divisions. While talking to the church about one sin in particular (sexual sin), he informs the church on how they are to view themselves in light of what Christ has done for them and with whom is now inside of them. Paul states, “19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.” Here Paul clearly states that they are no longer their, own but God’s and God (the Holy Spirit) is dwelling in them. In the Old Testament time, the temple was a fixed place in Jerusalem which was a sacred, set apart place for God to come and dwell with His people. Now the temple was/is those who have received Christ.
Logically thinking, if we are now the temple in which God indwells in us, shouldn’t our lives reflect the same. As temple’s of God’s indwelling, we should strive to live our lives in a manner of holiness. The sacred is not separate from the secular because with God’s presence in us the sacred is always around. This means that though we live in the fallen world around us, the scared is in us and God’s grace is transforming the ways and things that used to be in and of the secular world.
In St. Patrick’s prayer quoted at the beginning of this blog entry, we can see the desire of St. Patrick in his life. He prays for Christ to surround his life and to be shown through his life. For St. Patrick. Christ is the key to living a life pleasing to God. Jesus is the key needed to live in the secular world without being a part of that world, to make life not just church on Sunday a sacred thing. Thus, we must know Christ, to have a relationship with Christ and to live out that knowledge every day. It is up to us with the Holy Spirit’s help to turn every aspect of our lives sacred to Christ. Start this week by honestly and sincerely praying St Patrick’s prayer and see where God will lead you this week from the secular to the sacred in your life.