Friday, October 31, 2014

Scared or Sacred

I wonder if the increasing focus on Halloween in our culture: Canadians spend $1 billion on Halloween is really a cry for the sacred.

Many people have made the observation that SACRED & SCARED are anagrams (spelt with the same letters). 

I think our culture deeply missed the sacred. There is an ache at the core of our being that longs for the sacred, the holy, the mystery. Making room for the unexplainable is at the heart of post-modernity. (Although I am wondering if we are post-post-modernity with the increasing focus on individuality, especially in regards to my rights & my beliefs).

Bob Dylan wrote & sang

disillusioned words like bullets bark
as human gods aim for their marks
made everything from toy guns that sparks
to flesh-colored Christ's that glow in the dark
it's easy to see without looking too far
that not much
is really sacred
[It's All Right Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)]

Sometimes the closest a person gets to touching the sacred is to be scared. To be scared is a substitute for the sacred. When we can no longer find (or when we have stopped searching for) the sacred we settle for being scared.

Bob Dylan wrote & sang 

some of us turn off the lights
and we live in the moonlight shooting by
some of us scare ourselves to death in the dark
to be where the angels fly
[The Girl From the Red River Shore]

We can live with fear - something is out there in the dark. What we cannot live with, is the horrifying idea that - there is nothing out there.

Wendell Berry wrote:
There are no non-sacred places. There are only sacred and desecrated places. [How to be a Poet]
The scriptures point to the incarnation - the Word become flesh - Jesus.

John writes:

What came into existence was Life,
and the Life was Light to live by.
The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness;
the darkness couldn’t put it out.
The Word became flesh and blood
and moved into the neighbourhood
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son
[John 1:4,5,14]
We live in a sacred world. A world where the sacred is made real. But we also live in a desecrated world - a world that denies the sacred - we often call it a secular world (although that is a distinction that contributes to the problem of ignoring the sacred and our mistreating this planet and everyone and everything thing on it).

One of the way people, in a world which denies the sacred, get some excitement, is by scaring themselves - Halloween is getting some thrills with a little innocent (or not so innocent - the sexualization of Halloween is a topic for another post) fear.

Don't settle for being scared... discover the sacred.

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