The Word becomes flesh and dwells among us. John 1:14 (adapted)
The big reveal of Advent is that it is the story of the incarnation, God’s famous soup of the well-seasoned, well-stocked rich blend of the sacred and the secular.
God becomes human. Eternity kisses time. Heaven graces earth. I love the Spanish phrase, con carne, for the culmination of Advent: “Christ con Carne.” Christ in the meat of it. The light shines in its opposite of darkness and the darkness does not overcome it. They blend.
A woman whose church was almost dead told me they couldn’t possibly use the small chapel for dance, unless it was sacred dance. A thrift store sold all its books for a dollar but had a sign that said, “Religious Books Free.” They didn’t want the tawdry money to invade the holy kind. Or vice versa?
A pastor in a Massachusetts town took her dog to church and people loved it so much they made her keep bringing the dog to church. The dog worships in front of the pulpit. Yes, in puppyhood, once, it had an accident and accidentally pooped on the altar. No one cared.
So many have pooped on the altar by an improper understanding of the incarnation. These good people got the point. May we as well. The sacred soup by itself can be very weak; the temporal soup by itself can be very weak. Together, they are delicious.
Christ of incarnation, Christ of meat, blood and body, help us get over the false binary of sacred and secular and start having some fun with you. Amen.
Donna Schaper works nationally for Bricks and Mortals, a NYC-based organization that provides sustainable solutions for sacred sites. Her newest book is Remove the Pews: Spiritual Possibilities for Sacred Spaces, from The Pilgrim Press.