I was sitting in a meeting the other day when this thought struck me. I’m normally a pretty shallow thinker, but for some reason this particular moment was different. This thought is actually worthy of receiving “quotes,” so I present it here with them and a citation of my own name at the end. It makes me (normally a dumb guy), feel like I have something worth saying.
“Hidden within the mundane, we encounter the extraordinary.”
Life is found in the desert. Jesus came to the earth. And the extraordinary is within the mundane.
Knowing that God has promised, “I am with you always” (Mt 28:20), how could we dare to consider one moment more sacred than another? Aren’t they all lived out in His presence? Aren’t they all opportunities to honor Him and worship Him with the decisions we make and the activities we involve ourselves in?
In ancient culture, all of life was considered sacred. Even the mundane, was sacred. The word “profane,” came about to describe when someone took the sacred and treated it with irreverence. In many ways, the ancient idea that all of life is sacred has done a 180. Today, most people live as if the only sacred moment they have happens during the one hour of church they attend each week – with a few notable exceptions for weddings, funerals, and holiday services.
Brother Lawrence’s “Practicing the Presence“ is all about reclaiming this ancient way of life – where every moment is sacred.
Anyway, I think this quote applies to life in so many ways. For example:
Maybe I’m a heretic, but I believe that when the family is together to celebrate Christmas (or any other holiday), it is a sacred moment – God is no more present in the worship service which seeks to celebrate the same holiday, than he is around the dinner table in your home. “Within the mundane, we encounter the extraordinary.”
I’ve heard many people complain about these social networks saying that they don’t care to know every detail of everyone’s life. “It’s just too much noise,” they say. But I feel very differently. Leonard Sweet refers to these networks as a “global commons.” I’ve also heard it described as the modern “water cooler.” Yes, it’s true that some “tweets” seem insignificant, but that doesn’t mean they’re of no value. These short updates reveal our lives to one another. “Within the mundane, we encounter the extraordinary.” Many times when I run into people (face to face), they refer to something I tweeted and begin a conversation. Prior to these networks, these moments were awkward. People didn’t know what to say (or know what we had in common). Within these mundane updates, I have encountered God and He has used them to impact my life. 140 characters or less is enough to encourage, express love and concern, pray, teach, rebuke, correct, train in righteousness, etc. These updates are “extraordinarily mundane.”
In my 20 years of ministry experience, I have often said, “We want to spend ‘quantity’ time together so that we can experience ‘quality’ moments.” The real ministry moments can’t be scheduled. In general, you can’t plan for them, orchestrate them, or manipulate an environment enough to create a real ministry moment. They just happened whenever God grabs a person. Since our lives are filled with the mundane (which is still a sacred moment), these times usually happened while you’re driving down the road together, or sitting at a fast food table, or when someone seeks you out and drives over to your house while you’re doing the laundry. “Within the mundane, we encounter the extraordinary.”
Anyway, these were just some thoughts than ran through my head today.