We are in the midst of a season of endings. Our preschoolers have finished another year. The four-year-olds have graduated. The regular school year is drawing to a close. The excitement and bustle of once full daily routines may be lessened a bit by a more relaxed summer schedule. Vacations are in the air. Time spent relaxing on the porch with a sweet tea or lemonade in the longer daylight hours becomes a more regular possibility.
In the life of the church, we have finished celebrating Easter with the flame of Pentecost and the holy mystery of the Trinity. Our passionate zeal has been satisfied and we are now months away from another high holy day. In liturgical terms, this season is called ordinary time, and we often experience it in the same way. We view the ordinary as the boring, the regular, repetitive. Because of this, we are prone to enter a time of mundane worship, anemic praise, and apathetic service. But is this really what God wants from us?
The truth is that ordinary time is not really so ordinary. In fact, it is quite the opposite. This is the season when all the celebration of Easter becomes a lived daily reality. This is the time when we are able to put to work the gift of the Holy Spirit through passionate service and witness. This the time when we have the freedom to stop a moment and look at what God is really doing in the world because the rest of our lives are filled with less (if we allow them to be). Because of longer daylight hours, we can spend more time with our neighbors recounting the works of God in Jesus Christ. Because of more relaxed schedules we can devote more of our hours to service for those who are most in need. Because the weather is generally more favorable, we can spend more time caring for and enjoying the creation in which God has so lovingly placed us. No, ordinary time is not so ordinary.
Rather than seeing this long stretch of summer and ordinary time as an opportunity to laze about or step away from all that we have been doing, we need to capture a child-like amazement at the activity of God. Recently, one of our preschoolers shared that when trying to convince his father to come to worship, his dad said, “It will be boring.” After the worship service, this four-year-old exclaimed, “But it wasn’t.” Neither is our time of waiting and working for the coming kingdom of God. May this ordinary time, be anything but ordinary as we seek God’s will and walk in God’s ways here at Acton.