Jesus said to the crowd: ‘My mother and my brothers and my sisters are those who hear the word of God and do it.’ (Luke 8:21)
Lives of the saints abound. Bookshelves groan with biography, hagiography, memoir, and other tales about extraordinary people living extraordinary lives, whose faith is played out in lights; or stories of people living heroically in incredible adversity in contexts we can barely imagine.
There’s nothing wrong with these stories; they inspire us, broaden our world and, I hope, teach us compassion. But we are ordinary. Most of us have houses, children, gardens, dogs; we have access to decent schools and hospitals; our water is clean and our wages are fair. We haven’t sold everything we own to follow Jesus, but largely serve him through faithful living in local neighbourhoods, and through our work.
So we don’t always feel encouraged by the impossible heights of the lives of the saints, or the desolate lows of those who have prevailed over extreme trauma. We also need stories about ordinary sinners and saints like us serving Jesus in ordinary neighbourhoods. Stories about mothers and brothers and sisters of Jesus, who hear God’s word and seek to do it. Stories of daily discipleship, lived out in the suburbs.
So our #40ways40days project is a paean to the everyday. Each day through Lent, we’ll post a story or a poem or some other snippet which reflects on discipleship in the gospel of Luke, and how it plays out in ordinary lives. What does loving your enemy look like, not in a warzone, but between neighbours? What is love between a cuddly toddler and a mother with nothing left to give? How does a middle class white male navigate his sense of entitlement? What does grace feel like? What do you do when your car breaks down? What do you say at a baby’s funeral? And what did the magistrate say to the lawyer?
Ordinary lives, seen in the light of Christ. I hope these snapshots of everyday discipleship will sustain, encourage, cheer, move and guide you in this ordinary, extraordinary, season of Lent.