ordinary time

'Autumn dawn' photo (c) 2007, James Jordan - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/









Ordinary time begins today. And I need some ordinary time – the sacredness of the everyday, honoring each day for what it is. In the morning, noon and night. In the showering, cooking, carpooling, handholding. In the laundry, errands, homework, coffee. I crave the ordinary days filled with hugs, giggles, messes, interruptions, expected deliveries and fresh baked bread.

All of this is good – no need to dress it in twinkle lights, strew it with red hearts or toss any confetti. These days, such as they are, hold a goodness all their own. God declared as much when no one else was listening yet.

Consumerism needs to sensationalize each season to sell more, create excitement and entice ‘the buyer within.’ Starbucks put out a small Valentine’s display near the register – already. The sellers are impatient. Ordinary days might mean ordinary sales. They push us forward to spend on the next extra happy and heart-filled season. The grocery store, too, has its end cap filled with conversation hearts and red foil chocolates. So the next Hallmark holiday is reaching forward to grab our attention before we can settle back into normal…spending, living, being.

I’ve chosen to look past the displays for now because my own heart isn’t ready. I need the ordinary glory of today.

Now is the time to weave the truth of incarnation more tightly into the weft and warp of my ordinary life. The revolutionary message of Christ, the new king bringing a new Kingdom, must find fresh expression in my everyday. I move into the new year longing to embody His crusade into my calendar. No, I wake today and want the revolution to break into my routine. Ordinary time needs to begin in order for Christ to recalibrate my rhythm to match His cadence.

The mothers and fathers of the Church discerned this need for ordinary time. They named it and set it apart, the time between Epiphany and Lent, the time between Pentecost and Advent. These seasons ground us in everyday goodness. They create natural space for the feasts to find their home in us and play out in ordinary ways. I imagine the saints knew a slowed pace allows us to see God at work around us, to experience the Spirit stirring us in the most commonplace activities.

I can’t afford to rush into the next season. I’ll miss what must happen day by day, one step, one choice after another, if I press fast-forward.

I want to reclaim ordinary as a good word. So much ordinary goodness to see, honor, celebrate and even obey. I believe honoring the ordinary only heightens the feast days of our life. Living from one feast day to the next, from one festooned display to the next, gets exhausting. I think living this way gradually diminishes our capacity for joy. The holiday sparkle becomes less shine and more glare. Yes, we need to obey the ordinary goodness.

Or at least I do. So its ordinary time, and I’m glad.

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13 thoughts on “ordinary time”

  1. Joanna
     ·  Reply

    I was reading yesterday about the importance of having a Sabbath orientation, how shabbat does not mean collapsing in exhaustion from a hectic week but rather embracing fully the places and communities that God has given us and consciously turning away from the restlessness that prevents us from engaging deeply with life. I think what you say here is very wise: a consumer culture needs us to be restless and always striving for more (there are Easter eggs by the till in my local store) and there is something wonderfully counter-cultural about celebrating ordinary time.

  2. laura oldenburg
     ·  Reply

    Yes thank you for the reminder. Surely before there were OCCASIONS there was “the day” that God created, let me rejoice in it. Even when I lived in West Texas without much water and few trees God provided incredible reminders of HIS Beauty. Sunrises and sunsets beyond imagination which stirred my heart and wide open spaces. When I was driving thru these spaces I could easily see how the Second Coming would take place. Often mammoth clouds were as far as I could see and sky and distant mesas, each of which reminded me as I lived an ordinary day, that it is in such a day that he will return.

  3. Allison
     ·  Reply

    This is the first year that I am learning to pay attention to the church year in its totality (not just Advent, Christmas, and Easter, which are the only seasons with any emphasis in my tradition), and this was a perfect inauguration into my first season of intentionally observing Ordinary Time. Thank you.

  4. Sarah Bessey
     ·  Reply

    Stunning, Kel. Thank you for this – I’ll carry it.

  5. Caris Adel
     ·  Reply

    I’ve already started thinking about how I want to write about Advent and Epiphany next year. For christians who grumble so loudly about how secular Christmas has gotten, the liturgical year is the answer, and yet they refuse to consider it b/c it’s ritual. Drives me nuts. We did a little Epiphany devotional last night, complete with writing the CMB above our door, and as foreign as it was, it was really, really neat. I loved being intentional this Christmas, and it’s exciting that Advent is at the beginning of the year, not the end, so I have motivation to keep going with the cycle.

  6. April Yamasaki
     ·  Reply

    A wonderful start to ordinary time – thank you!

  7. Annie Barnett
     ·  Reply

    I’m grateful for this invitation into the ordinary. I’m not a natural organizer or domestic wonder, but I’ve had this longing to be about the good, small work in my home and with my family this January – to let my mind and my heart settle into this space and this season. You’ve put words to something that’s unfurling here, put it into perspective for me. Thanks.

  8. julia
     ·  Reply

    i love this. thanks for the reminder.

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