The Dean’s Corner
Finding God in the Ordinary
One of the more exciting elements of living our lives according to a liturgical calendar is that it allows us to have a special focus on “high” seasons like Christmas, Easter and Epiphany. We broaden our observations of particular holy days by surrounding those rich feasts with weeks of preparation before and celebration afterwards, deepening our awareness of Christ’s incarnation and resurrection in our whole lives.
But what about the seasons that aren’t quite so special? The long season between Pentecost (late spring) and Advent (December) is sometimes referred to as “ordinary time.” That doesn’t sound very exciting, does it? Where do we listen for God in seasons that aren’t marked by festive liturgies and grand celebrations? And in this season of isolation and reduced gatherings, what can our faith practice in “ordinary time” teach us about the great mysteries of God’s life in us?
Perhaps we can flip this around: rather than seeing ordinary time as the fallow or low seasons when we prepare to meet Jesus in the high seasons, we might see the great feasts and celebrations of the church as actually preparing us to meet God when it really matters: in days that are ordinary, in seasons where time stretches on at its own pace rather than at the rhythm of any calendar, liturgical or otherwise.
And in moments when life is anything but ordinary, observing “ordinary time” is a way to remember God’s enduring presence in this disrupted time, that our everyday lives have always included hope, sadness, grief, joy, mystery and grace, regardless of season of the year. “Ordinary” time means that all this is unchanged, and that God is with us just as much today as at any point in our lives.