Ordained or Ordinary!
Then the angel said, “Now put on your coat and follow me.”
Peter was in big trouble. Herod arrested him and put him in prison. This was shortly after Herod had cut off the head of James the brother of John. Everyone could assume that Peter’s head would be the next one to roll.
But God had other plans. He sent an angel who suddenly appeared in the jail cell. He poked Peter in the side and woke him up. Then the chains fell off of Peter’s hands. The angel said something to Peter that reminded me of my mother when I was a small boy. The angel said, “Get dressed, put on your shoes and don’t forget your coat!”
Here we are in the midst of a full blown miracle where an angel materializes in the jail cell, the chains fall off of Peters hands, the two of them walk out past the guards and the Bible says the iron gate to the city opened by itself, so why did Peter have to dress himself shoes and all and not forget his coat?
This is a perfect example of the ordained and the ordinary. The miraculous is always surrounded by the mundane.
When we recognize an act of God in the world we want to isolate it from the rest of reality. Perhaps a good example would be the way we view the crucifixion. Almost every depiction of the crucifixion has background music playing and the drama of the event is highlighted. When Jesus was crucified no one standing there had any idea what this was all about. It was not glorious. It was not meaningful. It was awful and painful and tragic. It was bloody and a bad memory for anyone who saw it. And yet we all found out later what was going on that day when Jesus hung on the cross. That’s when we began to insert the glory of the moment into our memory and remove the ordinary. But the two were there together.
So how does all this relate to me?
When I look at my life today I see an ordinary man who will go to work to provide for myself and my wife. I see ordinary encounters during the day that vary from pleasant to mundane. Maybe I will see a momentary flash of God’s presence in my life, but usually it comes without warning and passes quickly.
What I should see is a day that is ordained by God for me to walk through ordinary moments that will fulfill His purpose for this day.
In the middle of a great miracle the angel told Peter not to forget his coat! How ordinary is that? So when you look about at your jail cell and the shackles on your hands don’t forget to look for the angel and when he comes “don’t forget your coat!”