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The Sacred in the Ordinary

This green season in our church calendar is called "ordinary" because the weeks are counted; there is nothing ordinary or mundane about it for sure. The bounty of Summer explodes during this season, the beauty of Fall offers an earthly rainbow of colors in some parts of the world. And best of all we are afforded the time to notice the sacred in the ordinary. When I came upon this lovely poem, I looked at my coffee cup in a different way, my shoes, my clothes and the windows. Where can we see the sacred in the ordinary today, seeing with eyes of gratitude rather than mundanity?

It is a kind of love, is it not?

How the cup holds the tea,

How the chair stands sturdy and foursquare,

How the floor receives the bottoms of shoes

Or toes.

How soles of feet know

Where they’re supposed to be.

I’ve been thinking about the patience

Of ordinary things, how clothes

Wait respectfully in closets

And soap dries quietly in the dish,

And towels drink the wet

From the skin of the back.

And the lovely repetition of stairs.

And what is more generous than a window?

~Pat Schneider

This poem is from The Patience of Ordinary Things (Amherst Writers & Artists Press, 2003) and is compiled in Another River: New and Selected Poems (Amherst Writers & Artists Press, 2005).

Leigh Palmer (American, 1943–), Striped Tablecloth with Two Apples, 1983. Oil on linen, 36 1/8 × 50 in. (91.8 × 127.1 cm). Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC.


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