Ordinary vs Extraordinary
I recently went to DisneyWorld and Universal Studios. It was extraordinary. You feel as though you are in E.T. or in the gold rush as you ride Splash Mountain. It is a special moment.
We want to recapture that feeling day in and day out. We want the extraordinary. For many of us, ordinary is a dirty word. We want each and every moment to be special. We want our days filled with amazing events and fantastic stories.
And yet the most formative things are ordinary. Growing up, my family ate dinner together. That was an ordinary day for us. We got up, my brother and I went to school, my parents went to work, and we had dinner together. That was ordinary for us. Yes we went on vacations to Cedar Point and Kings Island or to the beach. But those things weren't ordinary. They were extraordinary. While I love rollercoasters and other rides. But my life was shaped by the ordinary events of having dinner with my family most nights, watching Ohio State on Saturdays, and going to worship on Sundays. Those incredibly ordinary events have shaped me into the man I am.
And that is true for all of us. We are shaped and molded by the ordinary, not the extraordinary. We are shaped and formed by the average, mundane things that happen each and every day.
Yet so often we want to replace the ordinary for extraordinary. Like I said, ordinary seems boring and bland. Where is the excitement and the pizzazz of daily family meals? Where is the special in watching college football on Saturday afternoon? Where is the magic in attending worship every Sunday?
So we try to replace the ordinary with extraordinary. We try to fill every moment with something magical or special. Just scroll through Facebook or Instagram and you'll see that so many of us are trying to show our lives are not ordinary but extraordinary.
And a lot of churches are like us. Many have replaced the ordinary for the extraordinary. Sermons needs to make you weep and laugh. Songs need to bring you to your knees. And when they don't, we leave thinking something was off. Maybe the preacher had a bad day or the songs just didn't connect. But too many more of those days and we begin looking for a new church.
We want the extraordinary. We chase the extraordinary. And it is exhausting.
And yet the most formative things churches can do are ordinary. Pastors can preach the Word of God. We partake in the Supper, an ordinary meal of bread and wine. We have been washed in ordinary water in baptism. All of these things are incredibly ordinary.
And yet God does something extraordinary through these ordinary things. Through the ordinary preaching of his Word, God brings people to faith. He convicts them of their sin and comforts them with the good news. Through the ordinary partaking of his Supper, he strengthens and nourishes his children. Through ordinary sprinkling of water on an infant of the covenant, we are reminded that salvation comes from outside. These incredibly ordinary things of word, bread, wine, and water are extraordinary in how God uses them.
The ordinary means of grace are things God has given to shape his people so that they resemble Christ all the more. Maybe we should be chasing the ordinary and not the extraordinary.