Pentecost came and went last Sunday and we are now in that long list of Sundays identified only as the such and such Sunday after Pentecost.? Ordinary time. The children heard me say this the other day and asked what I meant.
Extraordinary time ,I told them, is the time when we remember the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ. 33 years encapsulated in 7 months of Feasts and Fasts. I reminded them how Jesus returned to heaven and sent the Holy Spirit to dwell with and sustain his people.? Ordinary time, I said, is that time when we focus on a practice of living the things we learned in the first half of the year.
Ordinary time…the words bring up thoughts of dull things, isn’t an ordinary meal the one you eat every day and a company meal the extraordinary one? Ordinary is hard. The children ask? “What are we doing today?” and when I list off the regular (ordinary?) things we are doing their faces fall a little. Our feeble attempts at steadfastness and order are often waylaid by our desire for “something new, something different ” (Isn’t that a little bit of what happened in the garden to Adam and Eve?).? Ordinary time can be a long slog until we again reach Advent. Doggedly counting down the Sundays, suffering through the summer’s heat, the poor church attendance due to summer travel, the focus on our lives and how we ought to live them can drag at our souls.
But isn’t this the point? Aren’t we supposed to be learning in these weeks to infuse our ordinary with His extraordinary? What point in knowing the life and teachings of Christ if we don’t take the time to apply them? Taking even one teaching and applying it to myself, letting it stand as both judge and defender of my actions is a powerful way, I find, of bringing the extraordinary into the ordinary… As I open my eyes to the miracle of the ordinary I realize that this season of the church year is not meant to be, nor is it really a hard slog, but rather a special time for growing and learning in particular ways and places.