Today, I noticed that Janie B. Cheaney, in her column in the October 4, 2014 issue of World magazine, “The poverty of pluralism,” gives a good defense of some of the value of my noticing project. Here’s a bit of what she says:
“For a Christian, though, the commonplace is always worth defending, for it is shot through with glory. It’s where the Lord meets us: on the road, at the dinner table, through the checkout line, in the flesh. Christians should never be sunk into everydayness, but of course we often are.
“That sense of ‘meaningless, meaningless’ tends to set in when we’re not paying attention, or not ‘being intentional.’ Routine casts a haze over the days, making them all run together in a wash of the same old, same old. Here’s the reality: Our often-hurried prayers and distracted worship are weaving eternal union with the Holy Trinity, whose grace lavishes every step we take. Our jihad is in the workplace and school and home, not with bloody swords but gracious words and manners. Our transcendence is not found in passing moments but in the shining stitches that hold them together.”
So we defend the commonplace by noticing. By taking a picture of a place you’ve seen two or three times a week for the past five years, and noticing for the first time, in the photo, that there are old Christmas lights wrapped around that rusty pole.
We fight against that “same old, same old” by stopping in the midst of the routine, to see what is actually happening. And, oh yes, “it is shot through with glory.”
Last night we stopped our usual Bible study routine to spend an evening doing what Psalm 103 admonishes: blessing the Lord and forgetting not all His benefits. We spent over an hour listing benefits which are ours in Christ, citing them by chapter and verse:
When we stopped, after that hour, it wasn’t because we’d run out of benefits. We could have gone on all night without running out. We’d only just begun on the spiritual benefits; we hadn’t, as one pointed out, even touched the basics such as oxygen, gravity, our perfect distance from the sun, lungs, eyes, bones.
Stop and consider those benefits: the billions of blessings at work in your commonplace, this lavishing of grace. Don’t forget His benefits. Notice them, and bless the Lord, oh my soul.
©2014 by Stacy Nott