Praise of the Ordinary
By Katie Harmon-McLaughlin of Walnut Creek, CA, USA
May the God of steadfastness and encouragement grant you to live in harmony with one another, in accordance with Christ Jesus, so that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Welcome one another, therefore, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God….May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. -Romans 15:5-7, 13
I am most grateful for love that shows up in the details of ordinary life. There are rhythms in my home that have come to sustain me, simple symbols of a life of meaning. Upon waking, it is the sound of grinding beans and the smell of brewing coffee. It’s the flip of the egg and the way my sweet partner always has a towel draped over his shoulder while doing the dishes. When the weather permits open windows, I sense significance in the gentle coo of the mourning dove pouring into the silence of our home like an ancient chime calling us to prayer. When I get lost in my own thoughts, my dog brings me back to the present (the only place she knows to live) with the gentle nudge of a wet nose on my arm.
Our home is not always a haven of gratitude and restfulness. It is sometimes a place where harsh words are spoken, regretfully, and challenging issues are processed in tears. Yet, something about touching the depths of despair together stretches ever wider our capacity for loving. Moments of forgiveness bring a tenderness and healing that is also nurturing to the soul.
Ordinary time is this gift of slowing down and growing in awareness between the seasons of obvious significance. It is the everyday love shaping the substance of our lives over time. It is commitment to the life of faith when nothing spectacular is happening, and the discipline of seeing the holy in the mundane. It is where transformation meets everyday living. Who will we be now? How will we spend these precious, fleeting hours? How will this deeper call find expression in every part of our lives?
It is God in the neighborhood, in the produce aisle, and at the kitchen sink. It is God in the savoring of good food, the laughter between friends, and the humility of reconciliation. It is God in the sacred ordinary of this everyday life, inviting us to awaken to the opportunities abundant before us in everything we see.
“Awake, my soul!” (Psalm 57:8 NRSV)
The Prayer of the Heart
Early Christian disciples desired to take seriously the scripture mandate to pray “without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). The prayer of the heart invites us to pray “continuously” by repeating and returning to a prayer phrase planted for intentional reflection and deepening. Choose a word or phrase (from scripture, hymnody, or personal reflection) that has meaning for you. The Jesus Prayer is one form of the prayer of the heart: “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me” (Luke 18:35-43). Invite this simple phrase to repeat in your heart throughout the day, awakening your soul to God’s presence.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.