The sacred in the ordinary

Alfred Hitchcock said the movies are “life with the dull bits cut out.” Most of the content of our lives could make for a good cinematic drama. With the right director, those awkward first dances, betrayals in the family, the wedding that went wrong and the redemption of a career choice could all make for a good Netflix Series. The problem is that covers only 300 minutes of our lives. What about the rest of our lives the drama doesn’t include like washing dishes, taking walks, hunting?

This is the subject of a new book I’m reading, “liturgy of the ordinary.” The author, Tish Warren, seeks to help us see the sacredness God gives us each day. The psalmist once sang, “This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). God counts each day blessed and each day unfolds with grace. There will be reasons to rejoice if we learn to pay attention to what God is up to during the more mundane duties of daily life. Annie Dillard once wrote, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

This morning, I rose for my ritual cup of coffee downstairs in the quiet of the house. I’m sure it was providential that I was reading this chapter on finding sacredness in the ordinary. I heard footsteps and to my surprise my daughter was dressed for school 45 minutes early. She looked at the book cover with a picture of a sandwich. She said, “Dad, you’re reading about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?”

I said, “Well, no. Ok. Sure.”

“Well, let me tell you how to jelly is made.”

For the next 45 seconds, I learned everything my 7 year old could teach me about making jelly. For the next 30 minutes, we simply talked without the hurry of morning routines.

Indeed, the ordinary is sacred. Jesus taught his disciples in John 10:10, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” May we all see today the sacredness of the ordinary.


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