God comes in the ordinary

The Word was made flesh,
and pitched His tent among us.
John 1: 14

I wonder what Mary was doing that day in Nazareth when the angel came to her.

Some pious images have her praying. One of my favorite images, Fra Angelico’s fresco in San Marcos in Florence, has her seated with her arms crossed.

DSC04421

But maybe she was kneading bread or washing clothes or preparing wool for making clothes. Maybe she had just returned from drawing water at the local well and was resting after the walk. Maybe she was laughing and playing with cousins or nephews and nieces.

I like to think that God made the announcement to Mary in the midst of her everyday activities, to remind us that we find God anywhere and everywhere, that God calls us in the midst of our daily lives – not to escape, but to make God incarnate in the ordinary aspects of daily life.

More than ten years ago I had the blessing to spend almost two weeks in the Holy Land, hosted by a friend who was volunteering with a Lutheran Church in Bethlehem. I spent one day alone in Jerusalem, during which I walked the Via Dolorosa, the Sorrowful Path, the Way of the Cross.

DSC00128What struck me most was that ordinary life was going on in the streets of Jerusalem, probably as it did on the day Christ carried his cross to his crucifixion: parents walking with their children, people selling from their small shops, even soldiers leaving their barracks.

In the midst of ordinary life, Christ was conceived and Christ was crucified, The extraordinary is revealed in the ordinary.

The Word was made flesh…

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