The Holy Converges on the Ordinary

As I sit down during the evening on Easter Sunday to write, I’m thinking about the way this day didn’t go as planned. Rather than dressing up for church, taking family photos and celebrating together, my family of five spent the day split, with three doing “all the normal Easter things,” while two of us spent the day at home.

My husband was scheduled for the tech team during our church’s Easter Sunday service, so when one of our children didn’t feel well enough to go, I was the obvious parent to stay home. I saw it coming the night before, so I had time to wrap my head around the fact that Holy Week was going to end without fanfare. In fact, it was going to end in the most ordinary of ways.

And so, as the congregation of our church met together to sing of the Risen Savior, the two of us turned on the TV. Our living room duet’s response of “He is risen indeed” to our pastor’s “Christ is risen” only echoed in between our home’s walls and a YouTube livestream. Our two Easter dresses remained on the hangers. We ate leftovers for lunch rather than a celebratory dinner. And then we decided to watch a marathon of an old season of “The Great Food Truck Race” on Food Network.

The change of Easter plans seemed to put an exclamation point on a note I jotted down during the afternoon of Good Friday: “I’m living an ordinary life and hoping in the extraordinary.”

It’s interesting how each religious holiday seems to sneak up on me no matter how much I’ve prepared. Advent leads to Christmas — and yet, Christmas is always celebrated in the middle of the ordinary. December starts out hectic but we continue to move forward toward rest. Finally winter break begins, Christmas comes and goes as does New Year’s, and then school begins again. Lent leads to Easter — and yet, Easter is always celebrated in the middle of the ordinary. The practices of Holy Week occur smack dab in the middle of the ordinary schedules of family life, work, school and activities.

As each holiday approaches with certainty of arrival, I tend to find I’m never quite “ready” because daily life continues even as the Holy is in sight. I suppose I could bemoan this, and maybe some seasons I do, but this Easter season I felt drawn to the reality that the Holy converges with the ordinary. Middle school track season doesn’t leave space for Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday church services come at the end of whatever went on during the day. The ordinary never pauses. Even the fact that my column deadline is the Monday after Easter is proof the world keeps right on spinning without taking a breath.

It was in the processing of the ordinary I landed here: Isn’t the convergence of the Holy with the ordinary the point of celebrating the markers of the Christian faith?

At Christmas, Christians remember the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ -– the Holy converged on the ordinary and was wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in a manger in Bethlehem because there was no room in the inn. Jesus was born and raised to ordinary parents who did ordinary work. In fact, because Jesus’ earthly parents sacrificed “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons” in accordance with the Law of the Lord (Luke 2:24), the implication is that Jesus’ family was poor or of modest means; the wealthier individuals would have offered a lamb.

In the years of public ministry leading to His crucifixion, Jesus continued to converge on the ordinary. He called ordinary disciples, He brought Holy perspective to the daily (ordinary) rhythms of the temple and its laws. Jesus called for the (ordinary) children and extended compassion to the (ordinary) women. He even converged on the daily (ordinary) task of drawing water and changed the life of the woman at the well, among other wonders.

It’s during Holy Week — the week leading up to Easter — that believers remember the betrayal of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Holy converged on the ordinary of human suffering and human sin. Jesus was betrayed, mocked, denied and overlooked. The crowds, who a few days earlier shouted His praises, now screamed for His death. The crowd chose to release a common criminal rather than the Extraordinary King. After Jesus’ crucifixion, a man named Joseph of Arimathea took Jesus’ body and wrapped it in clean linen and laid it in a tomb. The same Jesus born into the ordinary and swaddled to sleep in a manager was now wrapped in linen, a shroud of death, and laid in a tomb.

At Easter, Christians remember the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ — the Holy converged on the ordinary cycle of death — and won.

And so it was that all the ordinary of this Holy Week, all the interruptions and disruptions, all the distractions and activities, lead me to a place of worship as the Holy converged on the ordinary in unexpected ways. My Good Friday note is true: I am living an ordinary life while continuing to hope in the Extraordinary.

A happy (belated) Easter to each of you.

Christ is risen; He is risen, indeed!

Malinda Just has been writing Lipstick & Pearls for the Free Press since 2008. To read more of her writing, visit her blog,, or find her on social media @MalindaDJust.

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