The Everyday Holy

Posted: April 16, 2012 in Reflections

Lent is one of those times of year that passes me by without my understanding getting a good grip on it.  I often think I may be getting an idea of the point of it, then I discover another layer.  My understanding is being shaped by experiences of the Lenten season.  Layers unfold and help my awareness brighten by what is and by what is not.

Lent is not another holiday. Lent is not a simple fast. It is not about self sacrifice in public service projects nor is it about family gatherings or church programs.  Lent is a season. Lent is internal and corporate at the same time.  Lent is for contemplation of The Holy in the midst of the ordinary.

How do I find that which is Holy in the everydayness of my life?  How can something, someone be found in such chaotic rhythms and schedules?

Psalm 24 says, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.”

Can I wrap my fingers around that? Can I comprehend what that really means in regard to my faith-walk?  If I believe Jehovah, the great and incomprehensible “I AM”, The suffering man-God, created this earthy world and all the earthy stuff in it.  I have to ask myself, How can I not find The Holy in the midst of the everyday?

I walk and touch, feel, taste and smell God’s goodness to mankind everywhere.  Taste a tree ripened peach and ask, “why did God give me tastebuds?”  Did he have to allow us the pleasure of taste?  What about the pleasure of touch.  The touch of your beloved, the touch of your newborn baby, the touch of fresh, cool grass under your hot feet on a summer day-where does that pleasure come from?  Why do we get to experience such pleasure?  Why do flowers each have their own fragrance?  And how do they reproduce only their own kind?  What wonder!  Even what is created reveals the Creator!              

But, how do I find The Holy in the shadows of life?  The sudden and senseless death of a loved one or the pain of a prodigal child.  Where is The Holy in that pain?  A child is abused, a veteran dies alone is substandard housing.  Holy? I can’t see it!  But wait!  Maybe, just maybe my perspective is clouded by my finite brain.

My blessed Savior, sits at an ordinary table, spread with the annual Passover feast.  The table is full of everyday, earthy foods and Jesus bends over to lift up those everyday things and make them holy.  And shadows fill the room.

He knows who will betray him and yet, he serves him symbols of what is soon to come.  He knows those he teaches don’t fully understand yet he prays for them.  He knows the harsh realities and cruel ignorance that will bring his end closer, ever closer, soon to be reality.  Yet, he loves those he serves, those who will betray him, those who will soon be confused and seemingly lost in more shadows.

He makes even their ordinary lives, holy.  And he stares his end full in the face beyond the shadows that press in on his humanness and cause him to cry to his Father, “Please let this pass from me!”  Yet, he submits to something much greater than the pain and says, “nevertheless, your will (Father) not mine” for the sake of these earthy creatures who will carry his light into the shadows that remain.

Romans 5 tells us we can embrace our sufferings. Suffering produces perseverance, perseverance produces character, character produces hope and hope does not disappoint us.

Lent is a season of shadows.  But on the other side of it, comes a season of light.  My prayer is I can follow the Jesus example of bending over to serve others around me, even in spite of ignorant behavior or misguided passion. I can follow his example to press forward beyond shadows into the light.

May I be able to say with increasing conviction, Not my will but yours. Let your kingdom come on earth as it is in Heaven. Here and now, let me be part of the everyday, ordinary and earthy experience that is lifted up to be holy in his hands.

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