Pick Your Community: | Hopkins | Muhlenberg | Daviess | Christian | Henderson | Lakes | McCracken | Webster
Davis Motor Sales banner ad

Keeping the Faith - Where Nothing Is Sacred

ronniemcbrayer300 aKENTUCKY (4/7/13) - The words “holy” and “sacred” are sometimes used interchangeably. I don’t think this should be the case, as there is a huge difference between the two. Sacred comes from the Latin, “sacrum.” You might recognize that “sacrum” is also the name of the bones in your pelvis. The ancient Romans called this part of the human body “sacred.” It is where the reproductive organs are, and, particularly in the female, it is from where life springs.

Thus, as one line of thinking goes, the sacred was recognized as something that had to be protected and secured. That is an excellent picture, actually, of how we employ sacredness. Human beings create sacred rituals that draw lines, build barriers, and protect and secure our space and turf. We feel we have to keep everything that is perceived as a threat on the outside, so as to guard our life and our future.

A quick example: Not long ago I was preparing to speak at a church and had my always handy coffee cup with me. Without any thought, I sat it down on the pulpit while I was reviewing my sermon notes. This church had more than a lectern or podium. It was truly the “sacred desk.”

A person came up to me and said, “I would appreciate it if you removed your cup. This furniture is sacred.” I complied but then added, “Yes, it is ‘sacred,’ but do you know why? Because it has been designated so by a church committee, not by God. God’s holiness is not violated by a Styrofoam cup” (I didn’t mean to be snarky, but I don’t think this person became a fan).

And a second example: During one of my pastorates we moved from a shabby little storefront building to a beautiful, magnificent sanctuary. It was an incredible upgrade with actual pews, a baptistery, a steeple, and some other sacred things. In our old location we had been picking up children in our little church van and bringing them to worship. These little people were tornadoes. Turned loose in an empty room, they would find something to destroy. When we moved to our new building we kept picking up these children, but I knew it would not last.

During our first week of Vacation Bible School in the new building one of the church mothers retrieved me from my office. She was enraged. “I need you to come with me right now!” she said. She took me to a hallway, pointed at the wall, and asked, “What are we going to do about that?”

Two and a half feet above the floor was a swatch of dirt staining the white wall. It ran down the entire length of the hallway stopping at one of the classroom doors. A classroom of these “dirty bus kids” had all run their hands down the wall as they walked to class, that’s all. But I knew then that there would be no place for them in our new space.

The sacred is the ritualistic space, community, and people-dividing behavior of human beings. The holy, however, is something completely different. Something holy is something that is “whole.” The root word is “health.” In other words, holiness is something that cannot be divided. It is something that is complete, unbroken, and intact.

Thus, holiness is not something defined by lines of segregation or by different shades of acceptance. It is defined by openness and welcome. The holy doesn’t alienate, it invites. The holy doesn’t separate, it welcomes. The holy doesn’t divide, it embraces.

Whereas what is sacred is a small restricted space that must be sheltered and guarded, the old Norse word for “holy” means “a large living room,” where people are made to feel very much at home. I pray that God makes us holy: Whole, healthy, welcoming people! But I also pray that he never allow us to become a sacred people, for when we lose our ability to be hospitable, inviting the outsider in, we have lost our unique witness in the world.

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, speaker, and author of multiple books. You can read more and receive regular e-columns in your inbox at www.ronniemcbrayer.me.


Disclaimer: The content supplied by columnists and letters to the Editor on this site does not in any way, shape or form, implied or otherwise, necessarily express or suggest endorsement or support of any of such content, statement, or opinions therein. SurfKY News does not necessarily adhere to or endorse content provided by outside non-staff sources.

© Copyright 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without permission. SurfKY News encourages you to share this story by using one of the social media links below.

Posted on 2/2/14
2/6/2014 - posted

Stock Report

button coupons
1 DOW 17,356.87
+288.00 (1.69%)    
2 S&P 2,012.89
+40.15 (2.04%)    
3 NASDAQ 4,644.31
+96.48 (2.12%)    
2/6/2014 - posted
2/6/2014 - posted
button classifieds

In Other News...

MFD Summoned to Seminary Street for Garage Fire

MADISONVILLE, Ky. (12/17/14) — The Madisonville Fire Department was quick to the scene of a garage fire at 4:30 p.m.… Read More

Hopkins County-Madisonville Public Library Happenings and Events

HOPKINS COUNTY, Ky. (12/16/14) — The following events are happening at Hopkins County-Madisonville Public Library. 6… Read More
2/6/2014 - posted

Most Read This Week

December 16, 2014 8485

Coal Miner Fatally Injured in Underground Mining…

in Top News For All Sites by Dick Brown
December 14, 2014 8085

Muhlenberg Pays Homage to U.S. Armed Forces

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
December 12, 2014 7648

Man Allegedly Threatening Medical Staff with…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Wes Miller
December 15, 2014 4598

Hopkins County Woman Charged Second Time in Two…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
December 11, 2014 4535

Muhlenberg District Court Fines Handed Down

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
December 12, 2014 4358

Man Allegedly Hits Brother with Pickup Truck…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Wesley Miller
December 15, 2014 4173

Woman Leads Police on High-Speed Chase in Stolen…

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police
December 17, 2014 4170

Three Men Charged with Burglary

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
December 11, 2014 4088

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Dec. 11, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
December 17, 2014 4001

Elderly Couple Found Shot to Death in Muhlenberg

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke

Stories Trending Today

December 16, 2014 8485

Coal Miner Fatally Injured in Underground Mining…

in Top News For All Sites by Dick Brown
December 17, 2014 4170

Three Men Charged with Burglary

in Local (Hopkins) Top News by Madisonville Police Department
December 17, 2014 4001

Elderly Couple Found Shot to Death in Muhlenberg

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Trooper Stu Recke
December 16, 2014 2415

Madisonville Police Arrest Reports - Dec. 16, 2014

in Hopkins News by Madisonville Police Department
December 16, 2014 2411

Highway Crews Pre-Treating Roadways for Potential…

in Hopkins News by Keith Todd
December 15, 2014 2291

Rich Brings Old, New Together in New Album

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Charles W. Riley II, SurfKY News
December 16, 2014 2251

Muhlenberg Community Hospital Installs Biometric…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Erin Warren
December 16, 2014 2118

KFWC Proposes 2015-2016 Deer Season Dates and…

in General News For All Sites by Department of Fish and Wildlife
December 15, 2014 2107

Dawson Springs Police Reports Released

in Hopkins News by Melissa Heflin
December 16, 2014 1935

Galloway, Director of Provider Services MCH,…

in Local (Muhlenberg) Top News by Karen Robinson

SurfKY News Group, Inc.
Corporate Office & Studio
1125 Nebo Rd.  •  Madisonville, KY 42431
270.452.2727 (phone)
  •  270.452.2249 (fax)


Contact a member of our staff: www.surfky.com/contact
Copyright © 2014 SurfKY News Group, Inc.  •  Terms of Use  •  Site Map

social fbsocial twsocial yt
social gpsocial flrsocial rss