NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Thursday September 21st 2017

Keep citizen journalism alive!

Donatebutton_narrow

Archives

SECULAR/SACRED

january-2013-alley-news-web-1

By Harvey Winje

Here’s the church, and here’s the steeple

Open the door and see all the people

Try this old nursery rhyme with your hands the way it is illustrated here and then fold your hands again with your fingers outside and open the doors again to see all of the people gone from the church.

Churches, like synagogues, mosques, and all gathering places of worship are just places. People go in and out of the places of worship taking their faith and their practices with them thereby combining the secular and the sacred.

That is what was dramatically portrayed by “La Natividad” in December’s seven performances in Phillips Community and one night at St. Mary’s Basilica in downtown Mpls.

Decades ago, theologian Harvey Cox wrote in “The Secular City” that “the church is primarily a people of faith and action, rather than an institution.” He argued that “God is just as present in the secular as the religious realms of life. Far from being a protective religious community, the church should be in the forefront of change in society, celebrating the new ways religiosity is finding expression in the world.

“The Gospel does not call man to return to a previous stage of his development. It does not summon man back to dependency, awe, and religiousness. Rather it is a call to imaginative urbanity and mature secularity. It is not a call to man to abandon his interest in the problems of this world, but an invitation to accept the full weight of this world’s problems as the gift of its Maker. It is a call to be a man of this technical age, with all that means, seeking to make it a human habitation for all who live within it.”

These eight vivid enactments of the ancient Christmas narrative made clear to over 2,000 people how enmeshed our spiritual and pragmatic existence is every day as the “La Natividad” pageant unfolded from the marketplace; Las Mojarras Restaurant, to the public plaza; Plaza Verde, to the civic arena; the Avalon Theatre, to a sanctuary; St. Paul’s Church, and encounters with traffic and a despot on the street in between each place tredged on cold wintery nights by candlelights, street lights, and headlights to the secular cacophony of horns, shouting, and awe inspired gasps punctuating the sacred music of the choir, the drums, the horns, and strings.

This pageant fashioned by Luisa Cabello Hansel, Patrick Cabello Hansel, Sandy Spieler, and Lori Witzkowski and dramatically retold each night by scores of participants supplemented by throngs of audiences defied discussion of the relationship of the secular and the sacred as it brought to the minds and hearts of all involved how beautifully yet poignantly our lives are intertwined with aspirations of spirituality and the realities of day to day life.

Here’s the church, and here’s the steeple
Open the door and see all the people. 

Here’s the City, and here’s the people

Opening their doors

raising many steeples.

Share this with your friends:
  • email
  • Print
  • PDF
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks

Leave a Reply