Pastor’s Pondering

Can checking your email be holy? Can doing your laundry or mowing your lawn or going to a meeting be spiritual activities? Every Sunday in worship we end with benediction—a fancy word for blessing—and we are sent forth. Week after week we are blessed and sent, blessed and sent. We are blessed with the awareness of God with us. We are blessed with the reminder of the Holy Spirit living in us. We are blessed with the mission to live that presence of God in the world. And then we are sent forth. But we are often not sent to those big dramatic moments we may picture when we think of embodying the presence of God. Instead we are sent back home where there is laundry to be done, dishes to wash, and other chores to manage. We are sent back to our jobs where there are emails and meetings waiting. We are sent back to our every day lives and routines.

So can checking our email be holy? Can we carry that blessing of God’s presence back into the humdrum routines of our days? Of course! In Liturgy of the Ordinary, author Tish Harrison Warren writes, “I want to do the big work of the kingdom, but I have to learn to live it out in the small tasks before me—the work of God in the daily grind.” Our identity as people who are blessed and sent into the world transforms how we live in the world, not just in the big moments but also even in our unremarkable days. Tish Harrison Warren writes that the Protestant Reformation 500 years ago was not just about a conflict in doctrine, but also about living vocation. “The idea that all good work is holy work was revolutionary. The Reformation toppled a vocational hierarchy that had placed monks, nuns, and priests at the top and everyone else below. The reformers taught that a farmer may worship God by being a good farmer and that a parent changing diapers could be as near Jesus as the pope. This was a scandal.” We sometimes are tempted look at some work as holier than others. And we certainly see some work as more glamorous than others. But the scandal we receive when we are blessed and sent into the world is that God’s Spirit lives inside us, and so all work that does good and not harm is equally holy, equally awash with God’s presence. Living that identity as ones who are blessed and sent can seem distant when we are doing those annoying little tasks in our days that just need to get done but do not seem particularly holy. And yet we are people who live in that blessing that even when we are taking out the trash or doing the grocery shopping or responding to emails, the Spirit of God is alive and at work in us. What would it look like to practice that awareness the next time you are doing a chore in your daily life? How would it change us to remember that we are blessed by God’s presence and sent to live that presence even in those small daily tasks?

-Pastor Chelsea

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