Morning Prayers: Faith and Superficiality

Krista Anderson '19 speaks at Morning Prayers about appreciating the simple moments in life. Video by Jeffrey Blackwell/Memorial Church Communications


A reading from the letter of Paul to the Colossians, Chapter One, beginning at the Fifteenth Verse:

“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross."

Good morning. A Czech folk legend tells the story of Libuše, the ancient ruler and prophet. One day, Libuše stood on a hill and looked out over her kingdom, what is now the city of Prague. She pointed to a hill across the river valley and declared, “I see a great city whose glory will touch the stars.” Then she instructed her men to go and find the place where a man is building a threshold for his home, and to build a castle in this spot. “And because even the great noblemen must bow low before a threshold,” Libuše proclaimed, “you shall give it the name Praha.” In Czech, the word “práh” means “threshold.” Today, Prague Castle still sits at the site prophesized by Libuše.

This story reminds me of a conversation I had with friends a while ago. Someone asked, “What are some of the most important values you try to live your life by?” I answered with, “Faith and superficiality.” I don’t mean superficiality in a vain or materialistic sense. Rather, I just mean that sometimes the simplest things can bring the most joy and significance to my life. There’s no need to ask deep, philosophical questions to find meaning. Taking things at face value doesn’t make you shallow; by appreciating and acknowledging the importance of superficial moments, we make them holy. As Albert Camus wrote, “You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.” Meaning can be found in a warm cup of coffee or the color of the changing leaves on a chilly fall day. Or, for Libuše, in a poor farmer building a home in the Czech countryside. Often, all it takes is one moment of beauty to inspire hope and ground us in our faith. The small things help to reveal the larger significance of life. God is in all things, and therefore all things are a reflection of our faith. We can learn a lot about humility from these unexpectedly beautiful moments. They serve as reminders that even the great noblemen and women among us must bow low before the threshold of God.

And so, this morning I pray that we all are able to find significance in the seemingly insignificant things in life. Let us all look at the countryside and see a city. Let us look at chaos and see tranquility. Let us look at ugliness and see beauty, for it is because of the ugliness in the world that we are truly able to appreciate beauty. Let us look at injustice and see opportunity. Let us look at our enemy and see love, because it is by learning to love our enemy that we rob them of the ability to hurt us. Let us look at the world around us and find God. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll find ourselves somewhere along the way.

Now let us pray:

Lord, grant us the ability to find beauty and significance in all things, and the humility to bow before You, the preeminent, who is before all things. And in the words of Paul to the Romans, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” Amen.

See also: Morning Prayers