“The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” Mark 15:38
Two great columns flanked the doors leading into the Temple. But only the priests were permitted through these doors and only at the appropriate times. There was a thick veil that separated this place from all the rest.
As we observe Good Friday today Richard Rohr explains it’s significant impact on our day-to-day lives: “When the crucifixion of Jesus is dramatized in the Gospels, we have this very interesting image of the tearing of the temple veil from top to bottom. Now the word for temple is fanum. Everything outside the temple was pro fanum. (Hence we get our word “profane.”) There was “the holy” and it was distinguished from “the unholy.” The tearing of the temple veil from top to bottom is saying that division of life is over. Everything is now potentially the fanum, the holy, the temple. There is nothing that is not spiritual. There is nothing to which God is not available and given, which is the core meaning of the Incarnation.”
Jesus’ death on the cross made it possible to encounter God in the daily-ness and ordinariness of life. From now on we can find God’s glory, presence and purposes on the altar of the commonplace: Building a shed, washing the clothes, and preparing the meals. Wiping up spilled milk becomes a sacred act. When we begin to live in such a way all lines between secular and holy vanish and we realize that life itself is holy. In other words, holy ground is always what’s under the heel.
Author Craig Barnes concurs, “It could be that the yearning to have something miraculous happen is symptomatic of how hard a time we have in finding God in the common moments of life. Yet in claiming that God became flesh and dwelt among us, Scripture indicates that God will be found in the ordinary and even the mundane routines of life. The question is not whether God speaks to us, but whether we hear him.
Rather than waiting for God to do big things in your life, think about how God is finding you through the marvelously mundane moments of every life. For if the momentary is not sacred to you, then neither will be the momentous. Yet if the common moments of life are sacred opportunities for encountering God, then all of life will become rather spectacular.” (Extravagant Mercy, p. 56)
I think our real work as Christians has a lot to do with attentiveness and being awake to God in the present moment. Attending to God’s presence is not primarily about solitude and quiet. The wonder of the Christian life is that every moment is alive with the possibility of encountering God in ways we never even imagine.
How do you sense God’s presence and activity in your life today?
What are some practical ways you could “better attune” your heart to help you notice this? What can you do today?
© Gail Johnsen