Holiness of Daily Tasks

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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Joy was two and I was twenty-eight when I taught her in Sunday school. Having recently been potty-trained, Joy pranced proudly down the hall to the bathroom. When she stood on the stool to wash her hands, she spotted the lemon-shaped soap. She gasped. Then she squealed and clapped her hands. She picked up the soap and smelled it. She turned on the water and made lather bubbles. Joy couldn’t stop talking about it. In fact, I had a hard time pulling her away from the lemon soap back to the classroom.

There is holiness in our everyday lives. The electricity in Joy’s soft, pudgy, toddler face—her glittery eyes lit with excitement—has stayed with me through the years as an image for the quickening and thrill of God’s presence in the ordinary.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "The days come and go like muffled and veiled figures sent from a distant friendly party, but they say nothing, and if we do not use the gifts they bring, they carry them as silently away."

Life around us is saturated with God’s presence. We can kneel before the Holy Father in our pajamas and kiss our children goodnight. We can hear the holy sadness in someone else’s voice and respond. We can savor the sweet, creamy yogurt God has given us to eat, even though we’re on a diet and can’t have the cream puff we really want. We can participate in the creation of each new day that the Lord has made.

Christ plays in a thousand places every day, in the great drama of life itself as well as on the smaller stages of personal circumstance. Within us and surrounding us like the air we breathe, Christ directs the play. We choose how we interpret the script.

When I taught English drama to college sophomores, I saw what a challenge interpretation can be. The students had to learn how to pop the two-dimensional lines on a page into three dimensions in their minds. Only then could they hope to bring life to the words they acted out in front of their classmates. Faced with the single word "Yeah" on the page, they had to determine what it meant in the context of the question, "Did you have fun on your date?" This one word could mean many things:

  • A straightforward "Yes, I had a nice time, and I hope we go out again.”
  • A sarcastic "No, and I hope I never lay eyes on that weirdo again."
  • An unenthusiastic "So-so, it was better than spending an evening in front of the tube."
  • Or an unrestrained "Whoo hoo! I want to get married tomorrow."

Life, like a script, gives us limited information. We have to learn how to pop ordinary reality into holy reality—a daunting task for us, clothed as we are in our mortality. Fortunately, God knows our dilemma because he walked around on the stage of Galilee in a day-to-day world of stones, bread, sandals, and dust. He can teach us grace.