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May 7, 2012

One of the signs of a mature spirituality is an awareness of the ways in which the “sacred” and the “profane” intermingle rather than living with a rigid division between our spiritual life and our “real” life.  So how do we call attention to the sacred– the presence of God – in everyday experiences so that we don’t fall into the trap of believing that faith (and God) lives only in church on Sunday mornings.

One way is to introduce ritual elements into everyday activities.  Bless one another on the way out the door in the morning.  Bless your food before you eat it.  Pause for a short prayer after hearing about a tragedy on the news.  Offer a prayer of thanks at the end of every day.  Collect your spare change in an offering jar, saying a simple prayer each day or on the day you give it away in the service of God.  None of these practices need be complicated or showy in order to be reminders of God’s attention to and intention for our lives.

stained glass windows from the Cathedral’s Children’s Chapel

Another way is to build links into your community of faith so that you have varied encounters with the people with whom you worship.  Parish fellowship is not just being nice – it is a way to connect our sociability and our faith.  Justice work with members of the church is not just good because justice work is good – it is a way to connect our ethics and our faith.  Giving to our churches is not just being charitable or responsible – it is a way to connect our money to our faith.  You get the idea.

Interestingly, children are often more open to seeing the sacred in the everyday, having not yet learned to distrust their sense of mystery.  Perhaps our job, as parents, is to encourage and root that openness in a life-giving tradition so that it survives even after our children have become as blinkered as we can be.

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