The Secular Within the Sacred

playing church

When I was a little girl, I used to play church. I’m a pastor’s kid, so church was a major part of my life. Some might find my congregation of Pound Puppies sacrilegious, but to my young mind, I was reliving the joys of a place I loved. For me, there was no distinction between the secular or the sacred. I loved playing church and I loved watching Sesame Street. I could even do them simultaneously. I could work on a page on phonics while singing “This Little Light of Mine.” Life was a jumble of prayer and play time and worship and reading and church and all of it involved Jesus. I knew that at certain times during the week I went to a building we called church and that at bed time my parents would pray with us, but life was lived all as one. There was no dividing line that said this is the time for me to spend with Jesus and that this was the time for play. It was all intertwined.

I wonder when that changed.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33 NIV)

I wonder what this really looks like. What does it mean to truly seek God’s kingdom first?

I know it doesn’t mean just going to church on Sunday.

Nor does it mean the end of all fun because God is the author of joy.

I think what it does mean is that we simply don’t make the dividing line between secular and sacred. It means that everything is sacred because we are sacred. It means that me playing with my friend’s kids is on equal footing as when I lead others in worship. It means that spending time having fun with my husband is the same as reading Scripture. It means making a healthy meal is as important in God’s eyes as sharing the gospel. It means balance.

As a follower of Jesus, all of life is sacred and falls under God’s authority.

And God doesn’t just want an hour or two each day. He’s not looking for certain boxes to be checked off of some list of approved activities we’ve created and deemed sacred.

He does, however, want us.

As it says in 1 Samuel 15:22, “to obey is better than sacrifice.”

And so I am challenged. I am challenged to obey. Leviticus 11:44 reminds us to be holy. Jesus tells us to seek God’s kingdom first. 1 Corinthians 10:31 tells us to everything for God’s glory.

Everything.

Even the dishes that are piled on my sink.

And so I challenge myself to continually seek God’s kingdom no matter what I’m doing.

And the beauty of this is that if I’m living every moment seeking the kingdom of God, then I am completely and totally in God’s will. I don’t need to worry about tomorrow because right now, this moment, I’m seeking God and doing what he says.

And tomorrow, well, I’ll just determine to seek God then, too.

“In every good choice, in so far as it depends upon us, the direction of our intention should be simple. I must look only to the end for which I am created, that is, for the praise of God our Lord and for the salvation of my soul. Therefore, whatever I choose must have as its purpose to help me to this end.” Ignatius of Loyola in Spiritual Exercises

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