Does God Really Live in the Ordinary?

by Mark Votava


In my life I am learning that God is in the ordinary.  This doesn’t make sense to me a lot of the time, but this is how God is revealed in the world.  So I am finding that the ordinary is drenched in the sacred, the divine possibilities all around me. There is no escaping this.

In my worst moments God is there.  In my best moments God is there too.  God lives within me through the ordinary.  I am understanding that God lives in the hidden places of the ordinary in you and in me.  This causes great wonder to arise within me as I think about it!

  •  Seeking God in the ordinary

Seeking God together as the body of Christ often happens within an ordinary local context.  Days and nights, weekends and weekdays, fall, winter, spring, summer; all these take place within the ordinary moments and cycles of life. The ordinary is mundane, but the beauty of God can be discovered there.

  •  God is incarnate in the ordinary

Ronald Rolheiser reminds us that “If God is incarnate in ordinary life then we should seek God, first of all, within ordinary life.” 

  •  Jesus was very human and ordinary

Jesus was a very ordinary man.  If we were alive when he lived in Nazareth and got close to him, we would probably have found him to be very human and ordinary.  In fact, I believe a lot of his miracles and parables stemmed out of the ordinary.

  •  Seeing the sacredness of the ordinary

It was the ordinary people with whom he had ordinary relationships.  It was and is very ordinary to be hungry or sick or lonely.  Christ always saw the sacredness of the ordinary.  Let’s look at the parable of the mustard seed.

  •  The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed

“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.  Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches” (Matthew 13: 31-32).

  •  The process of ordinary growth

In this parable, as in many of his parables, Christ uses what is ordinary to demonstrate what the kingdom of God is like.  Here he is referring to such ordinary things as a small mustard seed which turns into a garden plant and then a tree.  He is referring to the process of growth when something is planted in a garden and birds perch on tree branches.

  •  Seeds, birds, branches, trees and gardens are all very ordinary

Seeds, birds, branches, trees and gardens are all very ordinary everyday-life things.  Christ doesn’t tell us strange religious stories to explain life.  He puts everything into the ordinary so that we can relate and understand.

  •  Drenched in divine possibilities

Barbara Brown Taylor says, “The most ordinary things are drenched in divine possibilities.”

Do you think you can experience God in the ordinary moments in everyday life?