Zeph Daily 36

Morning Zephyrs! Julie here. Who else loves sleep??? Biblical logic says we are blessed…


I’m a big fan of the bits of the Bible that aren’t there, the gaps – I call them the hidden spaces. They’re the bits they don’t tell us, the bits that make us ask questions. What was Jesus writing in the dust when he interrupted the stoning of the woman caught in adultery? Why did Peter put his coat on before he jumped into the lake? Who was the young man following Jesus after he was arrested, the one whose linen cloth got pulled off and he ran away? Sometimes, the things we don’t know about a story can give us as much insight as the things we do…

One of the biggest hidden spaces in the Bible are Jesus’ missing years. We hear briefly of his childhood and a story of him aged 12 – then nothing until he’s around 30. 18 missing years – presumably of not much to write about…

What was Jesus doing during those missing years? Well, he was living, wasn’t he, a human life? Getting up each day, eating, washing, drinking, interacting with those around him, being part of a community, learning a trade, going to the temple, arguing with his brothers, interacting with his parents, walking the dusty streets and market places of his home, sleeping. He was living a human existence similar in many ways to our own. Not much to write about… Or is it?

The Gospels present Jesus as a very physical being – we see numerous instances of him eating and sharing food; he sleeps on a cushion in the front of the boat; he weeps for the death of his friend; he heals people through physical touch; he uses food and drink to help his disciples remember him; his anger is expressed physically in the temple; the night of his arrest, his anxiety keeps him awake and praying.

Often, either individually or collectively, we subconsciously separate the spiritual from the physical, elevating one above the other. We see our bodies at best as the temporary home for our spirits or souls, and at worst as the source of our earthly sins.

In sending Jesus, God reminded us of his original creation intention – he created us, humans, in his image. We are sacred space.

The real challenge of Jesus, God in human form, is this – if everything he did, in all its glorious human physicality, is a holy act because he is God, then – if we are made in God’s image – isn’t everything we do, in all its glorious human physicality, also holy and sacred, even while it may be ordinary? In that light, doesn’t living our daily, physical lives become something to write about?

In taking care of our bodies – feeding them, hydrating them, resting them, exercising them, treating them kindly, accepting them with love and compassion – we recognise God’s physical creation, his image, and treat it with grace.
If we prepare food for others, donate to food banks, make deliveries for those who need them, lend a listening ear, sit with them in their worry, speak to them on the phone – we recognise God’s physical creation, his image, and treat it with grace.
If we protect our own and our neighbours’ bodies from a potentially deadly virus by maintaining physical distance, we recognise God’s physical creation, his image, and treat it with grace.

Our everyday lives and tasks become sacred – “the ordinary is laced with grace.”

That last quote comes from a book I’m reading, It’s Really All About God by Samir Selmanovic. He writes a whole chapter on recognising the secret of the ordinary and how it can transform our daily living faith. It’s very good.

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A couple of days ago, I was carrying out a daily task for one of my children which, in all honesty, I usually find tedious. And it’s ok to feel that way. But – after reading that chapter in my book – this time, partway through the task, a thought popped into my head – “Isn’t it a huge privilege that, out of all the people in the world, I am the only one that this fellow human being, full of God’s image, trusts to carry out this task for them?” An act of service. And suddenly, the ordinary became sacred, laced with grace.

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In these strange days, when we feel constrained, when much of the joy of life seems to have been sucked away, maybe there’s an opportunity to concentrate on those ordinary physical things – eating, drinking, resting, working, sleeping, weeping, laughing – and see them in a new light. An opportunity to recognise the holiness, the grace, the sacrament, the Godliness of our physicality, and of the ordinary…

Have a listen…

Learning to see God in the everyday, in the ordinary, and recognise it as sacred space, is a spiritual discipline – one that we can all practice and one that can be transformative. Small steps… Take some time, right now, to think of three ordinary things you are thankful for – list them, if you like, and give thanks to God for them…

May you change the world today by seeing it differently. Keep shining those lights, Zephyrs!

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