Katie Harmon-McLaughlin of Independence, MO, USA
To live, we must daily break the body and shed the blood of Creation. When we do this knowingly, lovingly, skillfully, reverently, it is a sacrament. When we do it ignorantly, greedily, clumsily, destructively, it is a desecration. -Wendell Berry, The Art of the Commonplace: Agrarian Essays
Below are three practices for living sacramentally with God, others, and all creation. How are you invited into attention, awe, and gratitude today?
Attention: Begin by noticing your breath. Pay attention to the movement of each inhale and exhale through your body-filling your lungs with oxygen that you need to survive. Let your breath deepen as you gradually wake up to this moment, to this life, to this world.
Look around you. (It may be helpful to go outside!) Simply observe everything within your gaze. Peer deeper into what or whom you might normally rush by on your way to somewhere else. Tend to the details-the veins of a leaf, the texture of the grass, the color of a flower, the lines in your own hands. It may take some discipline to stay focused on one thing long enough to see it deeply. Opportunities for distraction are unceasing. It is worth it to stay present for a little while, to really see the world you are part of, to awaken to the sacredness resident in everything and everyone.
Awe: Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel writes that, “to be spiritual is to be amazed.” Invite curiosity and wonder into your gaze. Ponder the cycles of life that happen without your effort. Consider the story of a leaf or a twig on the ground. Revel at the aliveness of every plant and creature within your sight and remember your intrinsic connection with all that lives as fellow creature in God’s creation. How old is the ground that holds you? How vast is the sky above you? How is every part of this web of life working together in this moment for the flourishing of all?
Gratitude: Give thanks for the gift of breath, for trees that transform carbon dioxide into oxygen. Give thanks for each bite of food and sip of drink that comes from the earth and has sustained your life this day. Give thanks for the clothes you are wearing that were woven together from materials that come from the land. Give thanks for the smallest creatures that you can see, and those you cannot, that contribute to the biodiversity necessary for each eco-system to thrive. Give thanks for the relationships that support and sustain you. Notice that your very aliveness is dependent on this planet. Let gratitude grow in you a deeper awareness of how you want to live this day-each action in harmony with the world you are part of, each choice a movement toward justice and wholeness for all creation.
My ordinary life is a sacred place.
“…our everyday ordinary lives are also sacred places, or put another way, the sacred place of our living. As dwellers within the Sacredness of Creation, there is potential to be aware and appreciate the holy within the ordinary. You may remember times when it felt like you were seeing the world through God’s eyes. That’s a good description for what it means to live sacramentally-to sense divine Spirit amid daily activities.” -Jane M. Gardner, “Sacramental Living,” September/October 2019 Herald, p. 5
How are you invited to live sacramentally today?
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.