Do you know the word “quotidian”? It means “occurring” or “belonging to every day.” Something is quotidian when it is commonplace, ordinary, daily. Think cooking, eating, bathing or grooming, laundry! These are daily tasks or chores that we engage in. Getting up and going to work is quotidian for many of us (or used to be if we are retired). We are creatures who live a daily rhythm.
Is it any wonder, then, that Jesus put something about “daily” into his model prayer? Give us this day our daily bread. This is ever bit as important a phrase in this prayer as those that precede and follow it. There is something important, about faith and discipleship that happens in the daily.
As we pray this phrase we learn to trust God’s daily provision. We learn to come to the Lord with our regular, ordinary and daily concerns and needs. God is part of our routine – our rhythm. By having a daily time of prayer or reflection we are reminding ourselves once again that “God is God and we are not”. We are reorienting our attention, our dependence and our devotion to God who provides daily.
In her delightful and short little book The Quotidian Mysteries: Laundry, Liturgy and Women’s Work author Kathleen Norris muses about the routine things and tasks of living and how we can often find God in them. It’s an insightful, personal and slightly irreverent look at Christian faith from the ordinary viewpoint of the washing machine and clothes line.
Reading Norris’ book and reflecting on Jesus’ phrase “give us this day” I wonder if perhaps we at times fall into a rut of always looking for God in the spectacular, when in fact God is often in the ordinary. Take another look today, and see if I’m not right.