Happy New Year, dear brothers and sisters in Christ! I am trusting that you, like me, have been reflecting on 2022 and translating those reflections into some anticipations for 2023. Like any good SWOT analysis, there were strengths that need continued growth, weaknesses that need to be addressed, opportunities that need to be prioritized and pursued, and threats that need to be mitigated. These reflections are both personal as well as for Discipling Marketplace Leaders.
During the Christmas break, I had the opportunity to read a new book by R. Paul Stevens, called The Kingdom of God in Working Clothes, which is an excellent book (highly recommend!). If you have read this blog before, you have heard me mention the “sacred/secular divide” many times, relating to the chasm that exists in how we view the world.
But Stevens makes the statement that there is nothing secular. He says that everything was created sacred in Genesis one and two. Therefore, there is only sacred or desecrated. Nothing is secular. He says, “This world was created to be a temple for the presence and purpose of God…what was once one and whole has become divided and separated.” The Oxford definition of “desecrate” is to “treat something sacred with violent disrespect.” Stevens then reminds us that “integration as a Christian task, Apostolic mission, and a divinely given mandate to find everything in all creation unified under Christ, is simply to live and work sacramentally…finding God in everyday things…in the everydayness of work, worker, and workplace.”
This restoration of sacredness, this pursuit of wholeness, will bring us to finding shalom. Shalom is full restoration or a fullness/completeness of all things. For us, at Discipling Marketplace Leaders, that means a restoration of our call to work. It means recognizing that there is nothing secular in our spheres of influence – there is only sacred and that which has been desecrated.
And we get to be part of bringing shalom. We are invited AND equipped AND mandated to do this. How exciting!
May God bless you in 2023 as you seek to bring integration to what has been separated, restoring sacredness into every place and space.