It wasn’t much. Just a little note taped to a door. A few simple words. Nothing profound. But that simple note changed everything about the day.
I walked into a room, like I did every day, but this day I found a note that read, “Christ is everywhere, SO BE HAPPY.” It was from my then 9-year-old daughter. And it couldn’t have come at a better moment as we were praying to know if God was calling us to sell our home and move. It was as though God Himself spoke right to my heart. He was with us; He would always be with us. In the most ordinary place in the most ordinary way, the extraordinary broke through.
The simplest things.
The sacred in the ordinary.
The holy in the everyday.
This was a concept St. Patrick took to heart. His famous prayer (see below) includes the lines “Christ in my sleeping, Christ in my sitting, Christ in my rising, light of my life.” What could be more ordinary than sleeping, sitting, and rising? What could be more extraordinary that Christ being there in the midst of those things?
One the best pieces of advice I can offer to both ministers and parents alike is simply this “You don’t need to DO more; you need to invite Christ into what you are already doing.”
So many times we can feel the pressure to do more, to be more, to add more to our lives so that we ensure God has His rightful place in our ministries and in our homes. But in doing that, we can sometimes miss the point…that Christ is already there, in our midst, just waiting to be invited into our every day.
Jonathan Edwards, an early 18th century theologian, once said, Every Christian family ought to be as it were a little church, consecrated to Christ, and wholly influenced and governed by His rules. And family education and order are some of the chief means of grace. If these fail, all other means are likely to prove ineffectual.”
Can that be true? Is a family, a home, like a little church?
I can’t help but think about what Jesus said when he spoke to his disciples and said, “Wherever two or more of you are gathered in my name, there I am with you” (Mt. 18:20). Interestingly, most Christian marriages begin in churches where they are joined together quite literally “in Jesus name.” So, two people (or more once they have children) gathered together in Christ’s name means that Christ is in their midst..all the time…including in their home, their little church.
It stands to reason then, that the ordinary and everyday rhythms and routines of the home become extraordinary places for us to welcome, invite, and acknowledge Christ’s presence with us; chief means of grace.
We don’t have to designate special times to do that; we can do that in the simplest moments of the everyday. Moments like when we rise and when we lie down, when we sit and when we go out. When we are watching television and when we are eating breakfast. When we are crying and when we are celebrating.
In this world of full busy lives, adding one more thing to our plate can feel impossible and overwhelming. Isn’t it wonderful to know that Jesus is already there? And simply acknowledging that to each other, to our spouse, to our kids, to our guests can take the most ordinary things and make them sacramental, holy unto God?
The next time you are watching television, simply ask your child, “How do you think Jesus would respond in a situation like that?”
The next time you are folding laundry, simply pray for the owner of each sock, shirt, skirt, and shorts.
The next time you are saying goodbye to your spouse, simply grab their hand and pray a quick blessing before they walk out the door.
The next time you are doing the most ordinary, mundane, everyday thing you can imagine, just turn your head and look and see Jesus right beside you.
This St. Patrick’s Day, let’s join him in his prayer of extraordinary ordinary life.
Christ be beside me,
Christ be before me,
Christ be behind me,
King of my heart.
Christ be within me,
Christ be below me,
Christ be above me,
never to part.
Christ on my right hand,
Christ on my left hand,
Christ all around me,
shield in the strife.
Christ in my sleeping,
Christ in my sitting,
Christ in my rising,
light of my life.
Christ be in all hearts thinking about me;
Christ be on all tongues telling of me;
Christ be the vision in eyes that see me;
in ears that hear me, Christ ever be.
For more information about
- Kids in Worship
- Determining which Type of Family Ministry model works best for your church
- Encouraging the continued conversation through Practical Discipleship at Home
- Seminars, Workshops, Coaching
About the author
Christina Embree is wife to Pastor Luke, mom to three wonderful kids, and family minister at Nicholasville UMC. She is passionate about seeing churches partnering with families to encourage faith formation at home and equipping parents to disciple their kids in the faith. Currently studying Family, Youth and Children’s Ministry at Wesley Seminary, she also blogs at www.refocusministry.org and is a contributing blogger at D6 Family, Seedbed, and ChildrensMinistryBlog.com.