Work. Home. The kitchen. The couch. My life sometimes seems like a dull routine, yet the Spirit breaks through. I almost never turn on my television with the expectation of deepening my faith by what I watch, but it often happens. If not in my living room watching a favorite show, I might encounter grace in my office at the university where I teach, in a high school where I am a teaching artist, or on the highway as I drive home from an evening out.

A few of these moments: While watching “Gracepoint,” I hear a character sing a hymn as he searches for a missing boy. His voice is so liltingly pure I am moved to think about how grace arrives in difficult times, and how we have gifts that must be deployed with love.

In my office, a student entrusts a deep secret to me as the murmur of conversations in our warren of offices gives him privacy to do so. I am grateful I left the door open when I arrived.

In a school for special needs students near Pittsburgh, a girl who I have been told won’t write a single word for my playwriting class starts to peck at her computer, the world she wants to create too big and beautiful to stay in her brain. I am thrilled and awed by her willingness to throw out who she has always been to become someone new.

On the highway home after a show, I am missing my dad, gone for two years. I turn on the radio and hear a song that reminds me of him and remember that God’s time is not our time.

These moments frequently arise in my life, yet I’m always surprised by them. They are so much the part of my ordinary life, of work and rest, time spent with friends and family, time spent alone, that I forget to see them as they truly are: sanctified.

Like many people, I associate listening for God’s still, small voice (1 Kings 19:11-13) with, well, stillness: quiet, often in nature, while contemplating the beauty of this world. And it’s true that God is with us in these mountaintop moments. Most of us experience precious few moments like these in our lives, if at all. And there are more common, still profound experiences: the quiet babble of waterways, the changing autumn leaves, fog rising in a valley. I’ve undoubtedly encountered the Lord in nature, which strengthens my faith for the journey back to everyday life.


These moments frequently arise in my life, yet I’m always surprised by them. They are so much the part of my ordinary life, of work and rest, time spent with friends and family, time spent alone, that I forget to see them as they truly are: sanctified.


Thankfully, God speaks to me in the pop and hiss of everyday life too, and I’ve found that encountering God in my day-to-day routine is more fulfilling. Let’s face it–everyday life is what we usually experience. Although I am aware that I have access to more freedom, wealth, opportunity and beauty than the majority of humanity that lived before and is living now, I still can find my life to be a crushingly mundane existence, an endless parade from my home to a classroom and then home again, to slouch in front of the television. It’s easy to think of God as a being I encounter only when I go to church, dressed up and ready to think about my soul’s needs.

God does not wait for us to show up at church on Sunday. God finds us in our club meetings and sports practices, in our grocery store aisles and highways, in our operating rooms and factory floors, in our break rooms and closets.

If we pay attention, we will notice God’s grace. It is always there, a still, small voice asking us to find it, because God’s love surrounds and permeates our lives. God’s love is there. 

Shannon Reed
Shannon Reed is a professor and freelance writer. The daughter and granddaughter of ELCA clergy, she is a member of Zion Lutheran Church in Pittsburgh.

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