Preparing for the U2charist service during Holy Week has had me thinking a lot about the sacred/secular distinctions we often make. We recognize the distinction as normal: we have sacred or “Christian” radio and we have secular (or do we think, “non-Christian” or “anti-Christian”?) radio. (Where does country radio fit in this, by the way?). We have “Christian fiction” and all those others. Are what we call “secular” less Christian because they didn’t use a publishing company that also publishes bibles or a recording studio that only records for Christian artists?
We make so much of distinctions between sacred and secular. Worse than books and music, we also do it with people: Christian / Un-Christian; Conservative / Liberal; Evangelical / Progressive. What we’re really doing when we build the sacred/secular distinction is blessing one thing and cursing another, calling one holy and another unholy, one grace-filled and another graceless.
Yet, Jesus’ resurrection challenges our division-making. The incomprehensible God has done the doubly unthinkable: took on mortal flesh and then actually died (remember, just touching a corpse made you ritually unclean in the Jewish world). In living, dying, and rising from death, Jesus muted the sacred/secular distinction. He makes all things holy, all things new, all things sacred, precisely because he comes into creation as fully part of it. And when he’s raised from death, God raises all of creation, all the music, all the literature, all the people, to holiness and life.