“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way.”
While in Florence, Italy, several years ago I spoke with a woman who had made her first visit there. I asked her if she planned on returning. “Why?”, she replied, we’ve been here for a week and have pretty much seen everything.” On that same trip to Florence we met a man in the Uffizi gallery, which contains one of the world’s great collections of art. He was visiting from England and had been sitting in front of paintings in one room of the gallery, eight hours a day, for a week.
The human scramble to outrun boredom has reached a new level of intensity in our time. In Southern California where we live, frantic activity is part of the character of life. There is actually very little community here. The perpetual motion of this place creates the illusion of community, that is all. As people pile experience upon experience, however, it becomes apparent that this does not decrease boredom but only intensifies it. Our shallow revulsion of the routine masks a deeper anxiety. The new and the novel, devoid of vision, passion and meaning reveal an emptiness that all the experiences in the world cannot address. What are we looking for anyway?
Three stonemasons were hard at work. Each was asked what he was doing. The first grumbled, “I am cutting stone.” The second answered with indifference, “I am making money.” The third man smiled with a bright eye and said, “I am building a cathedral!” For him the routine of laying stone had a kind of glory attached to it. With each stone he saw the larger vision emerging.
When the love of God in Christ opens the heart our restless anxiety is brought to rest. The routine and the ordinary are invested with eternal meaning. The scope of life shifts. The little things matter. Knowing we are loved gives us back to ourselves and to others with new eyes. The routines of life become the little liturgies by whose repetitions life unfolds as the ever-new and renewing gift of God’s grace.
“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”