Our pastor, Bishop Brian, gave us a nice "reality check" this morning as he preached on our citizenship in both the world and the church. The theologians have a term for this: eschatological tension. That is a mouthful, no doubt. But it describes a reality that we all live; a reality that combines the sacred and the secular, the sublime and the profane, the kingdom that is NOW and the kingdom that WILL BE.
Living in space and time as people of this world, we are enticed by the values, the priorities and the principles that this world presents. However, we are also enticed by the values, priorities and principles of the Scriptural messages. Sometimes those two sets of values produce a "tension" within our soul.
We must work, achieve, and succeed in this world. It takes time and effort to do just that; at times leaving other values by the wayside. We know that deep within our spirit the true path to peace, self-understanding, and honesty preached by the parables of Jesus, give a deeper sense of wholeness than the world can offer.
If we were to construct the ideal world, it would be one in which we could be true to ourselves, promote harmony and understanding among all people, offer and receive real love and still enjoy the good things that achievement and success offer us as human beings living in a human world.
Is it possible to be totally human and relentlessly spiritual at the same time? Is it possible to really enjoy living in both the material world and the spiritual world? Can a person be both human and divine? Ah.....sounds a lot like Jesus the Christ. And through His grace the answer is YES!
We will still feel the tension but, through grace, it is a positive tension and a dynamic balance of the sacred and the secular.