Today! An Extraordinary, Ordinary Day (3 Mar 2013)

An ordinary day contains a seed for greatness. Greatness is more than just phenomenal accomplishments. The words of Zechariah 4:10 “Do not despise the day of small beginnings” ring true for 10th March in secular and sacred history. On this ordinary day in world history: 1) Alexander Graham Bell spoke for a few minutes on a telephone with Thomas A. Watson in 1876. It altered the telecommunications industry. Shortly thereafter, telegrams (the primary mode of communications for 30 years) became obsolete. 2) Poet and philosopher Voltaire’s campaign against the establishments (inspired by the wrongly convicted death of French Huguenot Jean Calas) in 1762. It launched a movement decrying for religious freedom and the toleration of differences. 3) China enacted a law to abolish slavery, a practice that perpetuated since the Shang and Qin dynasty in 1910. Back then no one thought these could happen.

Christian history commemorated these events on the 10th March. 1) Macarius (d. 335 A.D.) refuted Arianism, defended Christ’s actual descent into Hell at the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D., and saved the church from heresy. 2) Pope Simplicus (468-483 A.D) defended the two natures of Christ against the Eutychian heresy at the Council of Chalcedon in 451 A.D. and is still regarded as authoritative today for Protestants. 3) Sixth century Anastasia, the wife of a consul and servant to Byzantine empress Theodora, founded a monastery, and led a hermit’s life at Scetis in an era where women were not allowed to pursue a religious life. The Eastern Orthodox, Latin, and Eastern Catholic Churches commemorate her devotion on 10th March.

Ordinariness, defined as the simple and mundane, could be considered with reference to people, things, tasks, or all of the above. However small and unimportant, the ordinary should not be discounted. 24 hours before the tragic day, 10th March 2011, the world did not sense the significance of a latent force unleashing under the sea of the Japanese coast. But the current was already gathering its momentum. Foreshocks were reported on the 9th and the 10th of March 2011, but experts ignored the warnings. Do these small waves contain only smaller magnitudes of danger? They were wrong. A week of catastrophes continued after the first wave of Tsunami hit on 11th March 2011: the insignificant ocean currents may not amount to much by themselves, but when the waves build up and feed on the power of the other, the seemingly powerless waves then accumulate to such heights that killed thousands. An unseen mass of underground energy built up with such a compelling force eventually erupted in an earthquake. It triggered not only the tsunami. It caused the second largest nuclear explosion and harmed the living habitat. The seemingly unimportant waves became an unstoppable force, forever altering lives and civilizations!

Do not under-estimate an ordinary day or a simple life! What is the one small deed you can do, or a word you can say to someone today, which could potentially alter our course? I commend the 10th March 2013 to us all: Today, may the Spirit of God drop the seeds of greatness (that is embedded in what seems like an ordinary today) in our hearts!

Timothy Lim