Everything Matters

I often visit Amazon.com to inspire my reading habit. Recently, I was browsing reader reviews of one particular book, and an astute reviewer made the following comment:  "Welcome to the deep shift that is occurring in what it means to be a Christian. Everything matters."  That phrase - "everything matters" - stopped me in my tracks.  I realized that the very core of my living faith could be summed up in two words from an Amazon.com reader review: Everything Matters. Capital E, capital M.

This expansive and compact theology urges us, as people of faith, to see God in every part of life, especially in those parts of life that we so often ignore.

Taking seriously an Everything Matters theology could drive you to noticing tiny ants on the sidewalk that you'd never seen before, and it could even drive you to feeling bad for stepping on them! And while that probably sounds extreme and silly, it is also a powerful reminder that once we start letting Everything Matter our lives will certainly change. When Everything Matters we think twice about the purchases we make and the things we discard. When Everything Matters we see the bigness of God in something as small and complex as a flower bud. When Everything Matters, we see people (even the annoying ones!) as fellow sacred children of God.

I'm talking here about living deeply into the understanding that our lives, both their creation and their redemption, are matters of grace and blessing. Faith is the practice of letting Everything Matter, for everything holds a glimpse of God’s blessings. The author Sara Miles explains it this way:
[To believe in God is to believe] that the blessing prepared by God for us [is] everywhere, in the most unlikely places, for us to search out. And so of course we [go] everywhere, restlessly, looking for it. (Jesus Freak, 144)
How many of us have ever thought about faith as a matter of uncovering God's blessings, turning over rocks and pursuing our relationships with reckless abandon as we hunger to know God more deeply? This search for blessing in the everyday doings of life - the process of letting Everything Matter - is the soul's deepest act of reverence.

The practice of reverence is a healing balm in the midst of busy schedules and stressful weeks. It is an antidote to the demands of school, work and technology, all of which push us to be faster, smarter and more efficient. Reverence, as the art of paying attention to God's blessings, is an act that slows us down and helps give meaning to our fleeting lives. Barbara Brown Taylor, in her book An Altar in the World , says,
The practice of paying attention is as simple as looking twice at people and things you might just easily ignore. To see takes time, like having a friend takes time. It is as simple as turning off the television to learn the song of a single bird. Why should anyone do such things? I cannot imagine - unless one is weary of crossing days off the calendar with no sense of what makes the last day different from the next. Unless one is weary of acting in what feels more like a television commercial than a life. The practice of paying attention offers no quick fix for such weariness, with guaranteed results printed on the side. Instead, it is one way into a different way of life, full of treasure for those who are willing to pay attention to exactly where they are. (An Altar in the World, 33)
As the school-year kicks off and our schedules start to fill up after a summer of vacation and relaxation, it is worthwhile to consider grasping our faith more firmly and letting ourselves pay attention to what life looks like standing exactly where we are. When we begin to embrace God's idea that Everything Matters we can start to arrange our lives around God's priorities, which will always prove to be more fulfilling than any of our own priorities. We can be free to see the world through God's eyes, free to watch ourselves grow and change, inspired by the smallest moments of blessing in our world.

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