Most of life is not vivid colour, it is grey Tuesday afternoons where not much happens apart ‘from the sound of our children’s skin growing’ (That is a line from a poem that I have not been able to trace). If we have Faith it has to be located on those ordinary grey afternoons or ok days when not much of great significance ever happens.
It is helpful to hear stories of ‘great heroes’ of the faith; although I do not like the phrase ‘great hero’- it implies a divide between ‘ordinary’ and ‘special’ Christians. I can understand why we have them: think of a sermon without reference to Mother Teresa, Bonhoeffer, Billy Graham et al. However, if all we hear as an examplar of what it is to follow Jesus are people who did fantasic, massive things, it can lead to a radical disconnect between ‘real’ life and ‘Christian’ life: ‘Oh that is Sunday talk; now back to ‘the world”.
I think I’m saying I want to hear fewer stories of how someone heard the call to offer their life to Christ, gave up their job, went to Africa, saved 1000s of lives and led 1000s to Christ and more about Mrs Smith, 87, who is losing her mobility and mind and is trying to follow Christ or Amy Jones, 15, who is struggling with peer group pressure and praying and holding on with her fingertips or Bill Jones,52, in a low fulfillment job,bored, but wondering where God is in all this (I claim a new record for sentence length).
So I get what Peterson is saying on p112 and it encourages me:-
‘Most people, most of the time, are not in crisis. If pastoral work is to represent the gospel and develop a life of faith in the actual circumstances of life, it must learn to be at home in what novelist William Golding has termed the ‘ordinary universe’the everyday things in people’s lives- getting kids off to school, deciding what to have for dinner, dealing with the daily droning complaints of work associates, watching the nightly news on TV, making small talk at coffee break.’
If today’s worship has a role, it is to help us locate Christ in the middle of that; not to find an escape from that.