Why We Should Redefine "The Mundane" to "Glory"
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“Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, "Do it again"; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony.
"But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, "Do it again" to the sun; and every evening, "Do it again" to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them.
"It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore.”
G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy
It would seem that repetition has a way of lulling us to sleep; monotony a way of robbing us of sight, or else leaving us in the stupor of disinterest.
I am certain ... there was a time when we found ourselves, like every child, delighting in the monotonous, longing for another minute with grandpa, another page of the story, another trip down the slide.
The incongruity is unmistakable.
How can our failure to see be blamed on monotony, unconscious living attributed to the repetitive, when at one point monotony and repetition were not only tolerated but invigorating?
Blindness can easily be blamed on the world around us—and there is certainly reason to consider the daily effects of all that bombards our senses—but perhaps this is too easy an answer. Perhaps the scales on our eyes are multiplied not by the many repetitions in life, but by our failure to see life in the many repetitions around us.
Jesus spoke of the kingdom as belonging to the likes of little children, and many have speculated the child’s ability to see the world with wonder as one of the reasons for it.
G.K. Chesterton saw the child’s ability to revel in the monotonous as another. The children’s cry for more, reasoned Chesterton, is a quality of the very God who created them.
For the child on the slide or the toddler with a story, “Do it again!” is far from a cry of boredom or routine, but a cry for more of life itself. This is likewise the joy of the psalmist, the cry of the prophets, and the call of Christ: “Consider the lilies, how they grow … if God so clothes the grass of the field…how much more will he clothe you?” (Luke 12:27-28).
Jesus asks the world to consider the kingdom around us like little children, and thus, something more like God—finding a presence in faithful recurrences, grace in repetition, an appetite for an incredible world in the ordinary one around us. Here, even those within the most taxing of life’s repetitions—the daily care of an aging parent, the constant burden on the shoulders of those who fight against injustice, the labor of hope in a difficult place—can find solace.
“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope,” said Jeremiah in the midst of deep lament. “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning …’ The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him'” (Lamentations 3:22-24, emphasis added).
Morning by morning, the daily liturgy of new mercies comes with unapologetic repetition to all who will see it, the gift of a God who revels in the creation of yet another daisy, the encore of another sunset, the discovery of even one lost soul.
-Jill Carattini, managing editor at RZIM's A Slice of Infinity