A while ago I had the misfortune of cutting my finger severely and having to have it bandaged to such a degree that it greatly inhibited the way I did things. Simple tasks, such as buttoning a shirt, became a great challenge. Zippers were suddenly seen as an obstacle and a challenge, not the usual convenience of fastening that they once were. There are many things in my life that are conveniences that I take for granted in the living of everyday life in these modern times. Thermostats, indoor plumbing and refrigerators for food are just some of many modern developments that I assume will work and take for granted. Yet for many people in the course of human history this was not the case.
The season of Epiphany, the season after Christmas, is a season of ordinary time. In a world so often fascinated by the most recent toy, electronic gadget, celebrity, sporting event, or entertainment with a bigger and bigger audience, the church offers a time to be still and remember the most simple acts of living and loving. God knows every hair on our head, every sparrow in the woods, every button we need to button. There is a great pleasure, I believe or have come to understand, that God expresses in the simplest acts of our life. When we turn a key, put on a sweater or take a bite of food there is a quiet presence of the divine smiling and aware. The epiph-any of the ordinary, the change that takes place in our daily habits and the knowledge of the importance of our simple acts, turns our focus from the fanfare of our culture and procrastinating distractions to an embrace of who we have always been and an acceptance of where we have been called to be.
There was a storyline running through the 2000 movie, Chocolat, of a fine chocolatier making fancier and fancier chocolates in an effort to impress a favorite customer whom she wished to impress. She keeps asking with each more elaborate offering if this is his favorite, yet. In the end it was not the fanciest chocolate, but the simple hot chocolate that was the favorite all along. There are many ways we seek to impress and affect others with care and affection, often outdoing ourselves in order to finally make things perfect. There are many ways we seek to do the right things to be better and ultimately impress God, in order to be accepted and loved and heard by God and others, when who we are and what we do has already been seen and heard before we even began our efforts. Love proceeds all things, we sometimes forget this and try to force it, like starting a car that is already running. This is the time to be still and listen to the already present touch of God upon our most simple and acts of living.