mandag 17. oktober 2016

It is about secularisation

Yesterday I wrote that the kingdom of God comes close when “my presence in the world 'secularises' holiness” and this statement needs an explanation. The word ‘secularisation’ has its origin in the Medieval Ages and was used to describe what happened when the worldly powers took over properties that used to belong to the church. The church regarded this as an increase of the power of the world while the clergy lost influence and power and the "sacred space" steadily decreased.

In a secular perspective, this is likely to be a correct perception, but in a spiritual perspective, it is a tragedy if I believe that the influence of God’s Spirit in the world is dependent on the church’s number of properties and that the institution constitutes an economic and political force.

The challenge is that both believers and non-believers constantly confuse the church as an institution and the kingdom of God as a spiritual reality. Ideally, the church and the Kingdom of God should share a common goal - but unfortunately it is not always the case.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was concerned about this issue and writes about a ‘Christianity free of religion’. This does not mean that Bonhoeffer empties Christianity of its content, nor does he present an existence without God. His aim is to speak about God in a way that brings God back into the reality in which he has become homeless (1).

In other words, holiness must return to the world. Expressed in a simple way: For the secular to become holy, the holy must first become secular. The question is: How can that happen?

There are probably several answers to the question; but is there a divine method?

I believe so, but according to the mind-set of this world, I doubt that it is logical:

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.

Isaiah 55:8
This declaration is in a context, which also establishes that the word the Lord does not return to him before it has accomplished what he has said. So, the Lord’s way is incarnation, not only through Jesus 2000 years ago, but in the ongoing incarnation through you and me. This ongoing incarnation of God’s holy presence is vital if we want to see his perfect Kingdom become a reality. Jesus made the following statement:
“And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”
Matt 24:14 
The only effective way to proclaim the gospel is through incarnation. It is God’s own way.

'Manna' for today:
Holiness is about secularisation
(1) Bonhoeffer: "Resistance and submission"

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