With one week of the new term under my belt, everyday life has returned in full force. I can see the unique shape of the challenges that I will face in 2014. I already feel the struggle to daily walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which I’ve been called: using my time responsibly, putting my utmost effort into planning and teaching, developing my mind and the gifts and talents with which the Lord has blessed me, and seeking the peace of the city to which I’ve been called.

I am reminded here by Barth that this is how it ought to be. Our piety must be suitable for the everyday if it is suitable at all. It is not merely a costume for the Feast Days. I am encouraged because the source of our everyday piety is still the incarnation and salvation that we have just finished celebrating; the joy of that celebration will continue to be sufficient as I head into the work set before me.

Karl Barth, from a sermon on James 1:1-2, delivered in Genf, Switzerland on 9 January 1910:

Advent and Christmas and the New Year’s day once again lie behind us, and we have all returned to that life, which is quite rightly wont to be called 'everyday life.' … And I think it is good when we also seek here in the church to prepare ourselves for the everyday, which is just as well, as our Christianity must be in the everyday. Then the piety, which is to be suitable, must be precisely the piety of the everyday. Not like pretty, but in reality useless party clothes that one only pulls out of the closet four or five times a year, while in the in-between times one openly dresses in quite different clothing... And we want on this Sunday and the following to seek, to see, what it looks like when pious living is everyday living. Understand well: it is more necessary here than ever to continually ask after the source; it is not meant that we speak here of something different than is spoken of on Feast Days. We consider the very same thing, but in this instance expressly from a different place, namely from the vantage point of the work day...For this, Sunday’s joy will not be found wanting.

Source: “Vorwart” Karl Barth Gesamtausgabe II. Akademische Werke 1919-1929: Erklärungen des Epheser- und des Jakobusbriefes, ed. Jörg-Michael Bohnet (Zürich: TVZ, 2009) p. XXII.


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