The Sacred Ordinary

…you have made [humans] a little lower than God
    and crowned them with glory and honor. -Psalm 8:5

Dear friends,

Right before Kristen and I went into quarantine for covid, I had been out serving communion to folks at home and in care homes. When I got home that night, I put the broken bread and container of grape juice in the refrigerator.

I think I was planning to bring the bread and grape juice back to the church building afterward, but after being knocked flat on my back for a few days and then slowly recovering, I completely forgot about this plan.

A few weeks passed. One day, my two children Ryan and Micah (4 and almost 2) discovered the grape juice in the refrigerator and asked for some. Thinking it would go bad before I recovered enough to get it back, I gave them some. Then when I wasn’t looking, Ryan helped himself to more. The next time I saw that bottle of grape juice, it was empty.

The bread did not fare nearly so well. I discovered mold growing on it a few weeks later. Let me tell you, it was a good time to not be in a tradition that believes the bread literally becomes Christ’s body. That would’ve been some heresy.

I tell this story because it emphasizes the immense normal-ness of these sacred elements. At base, they’re just bread and grape juice – grape juice that will be found and guzzled by a toddler if left unattended, and bread that will grow mold under the same circumstances.

And yet, at the same time, when we share that bread and cup, we partake in the body and blood of Jesus Christ. We share it with Christ and with other Christians in every time and place. The sacred is found in the ordinary; the normal contains the holy. A paradox.

We too are both ordinary and extraordinary. Genesis 3 says God formed us from the dust of the ground, yet Psalm 8 says we are a little lower than God and crowned with glory and honor – and I Corinthians 12:27 says we, like the bread we break the first Sunday of every month, are Christ’s body.

Friends, you and everyone you meet are both ordinary and extraordinary; both common and magnificent beyond your wildest imagination.

So look beyond the ordinary. And don’t grow mold.

Rev. David M. Schell, pastor