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The sacred booth


There are sacred places. They are not necessarily altars or sanctuaries of worship. They are locations where the realities of our faith intersect life in a special way. Having been to the Holy Land seven times I can attest to the breathtaking view of Jerusalem facing the Eastern Gate, the pastoral solitude of the Garden Tomb, or the isolated beach at Tabgha. They are not objects of worship or veneration. But, something significant took place in those places and there's a sense of presence when we visit them.

The movie War Room emphasized the sanctity of our personal prayer closet and the battle metaphor of fbeing armed for life. Harriet and I both cherish and treat as sacred our places of personal devotion and prayer time. They aren't fortresses or bulwarks that guard us from the threats of life. Rather they are private places where each of us can commune with the Father, meditate on His Word, and listen to HIs voice. They are scared to us because they are places set apart for our spiritual nourishment.

There's a biblical case that everything we do should be sacred to the Lord. Paul wrote about the stewardship of life in all of his letters. A verse in Colossians singularly convicts me about the sacredness of my entire life as an act of stewardship. He wrote----

And, whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord

Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Colossians 3:17, ESV

In spite of the prevailing world systems life isn't compartmentalized. Everything about me touches everything else, body, mind, and spirit. Everything I do or even think should reflect my Christian faith. Paul's inclusive "whatever" and "everything" covers life in the broadest possible context. By an act of His grace I am HIs, totally and completely. There are no asterisks, brackets, or footnotes to limit the boundaries of which parts of me do and do not reflect His claim over me. He is Lord of all. And, as the old preachers used to say, if He isn't Lord of all, He isn't Lord at all. Ouch!

There are some mundane things I just struggle with considering sacred. Places too. But, applying the stewardship of life ideal to all of life makes it difficult for me to think of exclusions. While my human mind resists thinking of a sacred bathroom or school locker room or my shoe shine box or under the car in the garage I can certainly remember times when I've prayed in each and when God spoke to me in them. Yes, there are sacred places that we handle with greater care because we see them as sacred. We are more alert to our stewardship of them---a clean church, an uncluttered prayer room, a quiet place on the porch.

I'm wondering this week why the voting booth isn't a more sacred place to believers? Of our many rights and responsibilities the vote is most precious. Yet, in elections many Christians do not vote, and many others cast their vote without careful validation of their choices by the tenets of their faith. My research department (which is me, myself, and I) attempted to trace the exact numbers on the evangelical Christian vote in the 2012 election and got varying numbers. Some reports indicated that as many as 17 million evangelicals stayed home on election day. Most exit polls and voting stats revealed that many of the evangelicals crossed party lines with votes contrary to how they had been expected to vote. Without hard numbers, these conclusions still validate my fear: that many don't vote, or that their faith doesn't inform their vote. So much for the sacred booth.

Being stewards of life, that is, bringing faith to bear in every life situation, is no doubt a Scriptural precept. It is flawed, broken humans bringing Christ to everything we do. But, we're just playing games with our words when we say "everything" but take such a casual, cavalier attitude about something as important as the vote. Somehow we must awaken our people to the sacred booth, and restore in us the sacred responsibility of insuring that our vote reflects what we believe.

In the last general election I overheard a sweet older lady praying in the voting book next to mine. She was whispering, not seeking to draw attention. I couldn't detect her words and was ashamed for listening. But, her prayer touched something deep in me.

It was the sacred booth to her, and it should have been sacred to me too.


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