February 11, 2004

Finding God in... doing dishes?

Found on Mr. Strauss's blog (quote actually from Bob Kramer):

I am more and more convinced that the people you choose to have around you have more to do with how you act upon what you believe than what you read or the ideas that influence you. The influence of ideas has to be there, but the application is something it’s very hard to work out by yourself. You work it out in the context of friends -- just as you work it out with your spouse, so you work it out with a group of friends. What does it mean, when you're trying to think through new structures or new ways of living, when you don't see models around you?

This is something I've been struggling with. I was talking to my mom yesterday and she agreed with me that it's very easy for Christian university students to assume that we won't be living out "community" and "the Christian life" until we graduate, get a job, settle down, etc. And the question is, now that I believe my faith should impact all of my life, how should it do that, what does that look like.

A few weeks ago, I read this article from the webzine Razormouth entitled "The God of the mundane":

But I think I am beginning to learn that there is a vast amount of theological significance in the mundane. Within "boring, old" marriage (my wife and I have not yet been blessed by children, so I cannot speak of that from personal experience), I believe there is a great deal of joy to be found in the simple, stupid things of everyday life: washing dishes, making dinner, mowing the lawn, cleaning bathrooms, going for walks, or cuddling just before sleep. In these simple acts of everyday life, more of the love and tenderness of God can be revealed and illuminated than any extreme sport could demonstrate. As we learn what it means to genuinely serve one another in the minute details of daily living, Christ himself is truly evident in a manner not to be seen in the newest, fastest Porsche or the newest and hippest cocktail party.... I do not think we should ever forget that Jesus has also revealed himself in plain bread and wine – common, everyday implements that our Savior himself consecrates to show forth the most awesome, fearful, and glorious act of love and mercy one could imagine. It is that act which gives meaning to every facet of our lives and hope that it serves a greater purpose.
I think this is right; I especially like the reference to the sacraments. It's true; in one sense, Jesus used the everyday activity of eating and drinking (of course, there's lots more ties-in with the Passover, etc.) and told us, do this (boring, mundane, every-day) thing, and when you do it remember me. There's a song:
Jesu, Jesu, fill us with your love, show us how to serve the neighbours we have from you.

Kneels at the feet of His friends, silently washes their feet, master who acts as a slave to them.

These are the ones we should serve, these are the ones we should love, all these are neighbours to us and you.

Loving puts us on our knees, serving as though we are slaves: this is the way we should live with you.

And I'm out; good night.

Posted by Tim at February 11, 2004 01:57 AM | TrackBack

Good points, and it's applicable to any path to contentment. "Appreciate the little things" is so true and so often overlooked. I think it's wrong though, to dismiss out of hand the porsche or party, because great joy can be found in the wind in your face or the feel of a good car on a twisty road, or by the interaction of many people together. It's not so much *how* you acquire the opportunity, but the opportunity itself that is important.

Posted by: Ted at February 11, 2004 10:29 AM

AAARRRGGHHH!!! Now I'm going to have that song in my head all day!

Posted by: Allison at February 11, 2004 11:38 AM

Tim, I would reccomend reading Practicing the Presence of God, by Brother Lawrence. It is the memoirs of a monk who worked in the kitchen of his monastary. I have a copy if you'd like to borrow it. It's an invaluable resource for the student working teir way through university at... less than glorious jobs.

Posted by: Graham ware at February 11, 2004 01:18 PM

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