Pastor’s Corner (4/22/2021)
Life is not made up of crises. Life is made up of little things we love to ignore in order to get on to the exciting things in life. But God is in the details. God is in what it takes in us to be faithful to them. God is in the routines that make us what we are. The way we do the little things in life is the mark of the bigness of our souls. When the mundane things that occupy our time threaten to dull our view of the universe, it is time to slow down.
Joan D. Chittister
As we come down off the high of Easter, I was particularly struck by the above words from Sister Joan Chittister’s book Called to Question: A Spiritual Memoir. In her chapter “Dailiness: the Gifts of the Mundane” she described the importance of embracing the dailiness of our lives.
During our Pastors Retreat last week, we spent time learning about the Enneagram. This is a tool of discernment that is intended to provide guidance for deepening one’s spiritual life. Our presenter Hunter Mobley led us on an exploration of our deeper interior lives. He talked about the difference between the “personality” and the “soul.” We need them both to be the people God has created us to be. The personality is the part of ourselves that we present to the world. The soul is the part of ourselves that lies deeper, the part that God touches.
As I reflected on the presentations, I came to realize that my natural abilities enable me to respond effectively to crisis. This has been a real help to me during various times of my life. I was able to harness this ability to respond to crises as a hospital chaplain. However, I sometimes find it a greater challenger to embrace the dailiness of life. We all have mundane tasks that make up our professional and personal lives. Our ability to embrace the mundane makes it possible for us to know ourselves, one another, and God more deeply. Chittester suggested that when we struggle to embrace the dailiness of life there is an invitation to slow down. In some ways, I wonder if this past year with COVID has given us unexpected opportunities to slow down. The mundane and normal aspects of life have taken on a new importance, particularly when we have been unable to enjoy them. Greeting someone with a handshake or hug, spending time with those we love, moving about freely in the company of others; all these events and so many more have taken on a renewed value.
Chittister’s words invite us to ponder the dailiness of our individual lives and of our corporate and shared life. It is much more exciting to prepare for extraordinary worship events like Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter. These are high points for us as people of faith and very important. But, life is made up of the ordinary and daily. Worship is often the high point of our shared life, but we need all the other ordinary and daily events as well. We need Team meetings to plan worship, education, hospitality, and outreach. Our Property and Finance Teams need to meet to keep up with issues about our building and our financial well-being. The Elders and Stephen Ministers need to meet to plan ways to serve those in our care. The Deacons serve us by attending to Communion preparation in worship and visitation in our congregation. The Board and the Ministry Cabinet must gather regularly to attend to the daily events of our lives as a congregation. We gather for the exciting and ordinary. This past year has given us, as individuals and a faith community, time and space to become aware of and embrace the dailiness of life. As we prepare to regather in person for more and more events, we are invited to celebrate the exiting and to embrace the ordinary.
Will we have the courage to embrace the ordinary and the dailiness of our individual and shared lives? This may be more challenging than dealing with the crises that come our way. It is a challenge, but I suspect it will be well worth the effort. With God’s help and guidance we can face the ordinariness and dailiness of our lives just as we face the many crises that come, have come, and will come our way.
With confidence and hope,