Lent: Day Twenty-five

If you read my Myers-Briggs personality profile, you will see that I think symbolically using a lot of images. With that in mind, let me share with you what happens when I sit back and think about the week. As I look at today (Wednesday) I see it as the fulcrum of the week, not just its midpoint. As I look back on Monday there was a sense of new beginnings, everything was ahead of me. Now as noon on Wednesday arrives, it feels like the week has crested and things are rolling downhill. Pressure increases on those things you expect to but haven’t yet gotten done. You begin looking at the approaching weekend, mentally feeling the temptation to begin the workweek wind down and preparation for the relational demands that increased family time on the weekend brings.

Part of that is due the way most of us compartmentalize our modern lives. We seem to divide everything: work, family, church, leisure and play, and numerous other categories, into compartments and treat them as separate portions of our life. Some of this is inherited from split of life in Western Civilization into the sacred and the secular, mostly absent from Christianity’s Jewish roots, but fostered by Catholicism’s sharp distinction between the religious and secular in all aspects of life. Once separated, it is easier to marginalize the sacred and spiritual as has happened in modern times. In earlier and especially biblical times, life was more unified and the aspects of life, while more limited, were also more integrated. Essentially there was no separation between the spiritual and all other aspects of life.

Today, now that the split has been solidified in Western culture, there is strong resistance against attempts by Christians to try to reintegrate their separated lives. We are told to leave our “religion” at home or to restrict it to our private lives. But we cannot do that. To be a Christian is to be a Christian all of the time, in everything we do and say, in what we are.

I guess one of the insights coming out of this Lenten experience has been a growing understanding of my need to do just that, repair that improper division, to present myself to God as a whole person. Just as the Nicene Creed calls the Church one, holy, catholic, and apostolic, so too are we. We are also called to be one in Christ, but also one in person, not divided between a sacred and a secular self. We are also called to be holy (separated from evil and dedicated to righteousness), catholic (universal, including within our fellowship all nations, races, and stations of life), and apostolic (adhering to the apostles teaching and doctrine, to the faith once delivered unto the saints).

Dear Lord, I pray this day for you to bind up what has been broken and torn apart. As you breathed your life into what you had formed from the dust, making one man, whole and complete, so now breathe fresh life into my separated parts making them one and whole. And may I not only approach the throne of grace with boldness but also boldly approach the world in which I live, unified by the blood of Christ Jesus, my Lord, to witness to the truth of your creation and unifying redemption, to the honor and glory of your name. Amen and amen.