Where the Ordinary Becomes Extraordinary

Yesterday I wrote a post about faith communities as liminal spaces at the edge of reality, where we press into the future world we hope for.

Since this blog is supposed to be about the sacredness of ordinary life, it might seem odd that I was writing about visions of future worlds and the edge of reality. It might seem bizarre to be using artwork from a fantasy card game on a blog about ordinariness. How does this relate to ordinariness?

In Celtic spirituality (Pagan and Christian) there is an idea of thin spaces – places where the boundary between the ordinary world and the Otherworld are thin. I think that we can create something like a thin space when we take time to pay attention to the significance, specialness or sacredness of ordinary things and practises. That might mean looking more deeply at the purpose or intention behind a practise or an object. It might be paying more attention to the hopes we have about the results a practise might have in the world. It might mean paying more attention to the ways that an object or a person connects us to other people and places.

For example, we are currently taking some time in our household to reflect on some of the ordinary practises of hospitality that we engage in, Last week we took some time to reflect on our practise of cooking. In a sense it is incredible mundane and ordinary. In a sense it is just preparing fuel for bodies to continue operating. But in the same way it is incredibly magical. In cooperation with the earth, human beings are involved in producing fruit and vegetables and livestock each year. At our house we are able to work with those natural products to create food for ourselves and our guests. We work closely with materials that will become part of our own bodies and the bodies of our guests. Considering the conflict that has occurred historically between our people and the people who we are hosting, it can be awkward and uncomfortable, but I think it can create a significant connection if we are aware that that is what we are doing. (It’s also significant when our guests offer to cook for us.) It’s also an image of the kind of future that we hope to see in the wider world – a world where racial groups who have been in conflict can be reconciled.

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