The Sacred & The Mundane

Life can be ordinary, with enough routine to make you think you are on some kind of autopilot with no will of your own. You wake up, go to work, return home, eat, drink, participate in whatever hobbies or pastime you love (if you are lucky to have one), then kick your legs off to sleep. This is the way of the modern adult, and not many life situations jolt us out of that mould.

It is also the reason why we idolise those who seem to live outside of this bubble, especially those who, in Christian definition, are spiritual and dedicate more of their time to what we consider as “the things of God”. That can include praying, worship, preaching and the likes. It is why there is usually an air of veneration among Christians when someone with the common title of “Pastor” shows up.

We venerate and respect these kinds of people because, compared to our humdrum lives, where nothing seemingly spiritual exists but anger, stress, worry, depression and frequent illnesses, the "Pastor" seems to live a more holy life. In short, he or she is doing stuff we would like to do if we had more time or desire. This is one of the reasons we ask them to pray on our behalf, why we give gifts and why we honour them. In a warped way, they are an extension of our worship, because we believe if we treat them well, God might look on us favourably or the “man of God” might even put in a good word for us.

But what lifestyle qualifies as holy or unholy in God's eyes? Are we highly favoured because we spend more time on our knees? Or because we can sing for many hours on end? Are God's blessings for those prolific and gifted in dishing out insights from the Bible? Or are they for those on faraway missions, helping the needy in remote parts of the world? Are these activities "holy" enough to make us superstars, the elite of God's kingdom?

What about those who are busy with life? What the people with ashen faces in the mornings and ghostly visage at night, juggling three, four jobs at once? How high is their chance of doing something "holy"? Is it okay if they sneak out little pockets of time to moan towards the heavens about their circumstances? Is it acceptable for them to steal moments to speak to Him while they wait in long holdups, queues, or in the dead silence of bathroom breaks? Can they find Him when they sit down at work with Excel spreadsheets and MSWord staring back at them? Can they hold a brief conversation while they gaze into the eyes of sleeping loved ones? Is it enough for them to burst out in songs at the sight of the blind, the homeless, the mentally-ill in sorrow, gratitude or praise? Or is it acceptable to bow in reverence at the sight of the rising sun or the beauty of newly-hatched chicks running across their paths? Are tears of resignation or reverence at the sight of the suffering and the dying enough? Is this enough to gain God's ear, His smile, and have Him nod their way? For all we need, sometimes, is just a nod, an acknowledgement that our souls have a connection unseen, unheard and deep beyond the gaze of mortals to where all life originates - a connection to peace… and purpose. Sometimes that is all we need. All we need.

** Photo used is "Observe" by Hernán Piñera and made available under a CC BY-ND 2.0 license

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