It’s been cold. And rainy. If it’s not rainy, it’s cloudy.
The memories, excitement, and expectation of Advent and Christmas are long faded. The New Year has come. Many of us may already feel like it’s July, having waved a fond farewell to all our good intentions and New Year’s resolutions in favor of just keeping our heads above water.
Even if you tried to eek-out one last moment of awe and wonder celebrating the Epiphany, it came to its final close on the 19th. The Christmas carols and Auld Lang Synes have all been sung - so what now?
In the Church’s liturgical calendar, we are now in Ordinary Time.
I’m not joking. It’s an actual liturgical season: Ordinary Time.
The modern definition of ordinary is, “with no special or distinctive features; normal.”
So, when first introduced to the liturgical calendar, I quite literally thought that this meant, “To the Congregation and the Pastors: Go about your business. Teach topically. No special meaning here.”
But that’s not what this ORDINARY means.
W.P. Bennett gives us a little more insight into the liturgical meaning of ordinary:
“The basis for calling the time ordinary, actually refers back again to that defining quality of God as the Divine Orderer of creation. It means that the time is ordered rather than chaotic. By identifying periods of the year through a calendar, the Church has been an instrument in God’s reaching out to bring order and system into the chaos of our world. So, Ordinary Time does not mean a “ho-hum time,” but is rather a time to reflect on how God intervenes in the world and brings his divine presence into the chaos of our life. It is a time for us to break from all the preparation and celebration of other feasts and practice our faith and relationship with God in the calm.”
I think that most people are like me in that we enter into a new year or new season of life with a list of goals or “to do’s” or “honey do’s.” We may have a spark of excitement about it all at first, but eventually we give way to simply checking things off the list and living in a rather habitual state.
How was your day?
Anything special happen?
Ah, you know...the ordinary.
The normalcy of life has set in. But I think here is where we, as believers, can live differently. Not living life by the school calendar, the fiscal calendar, the normal calendar year, but by making the conscious decision to live liturgically.
Many of us hear the words “Liturgy” or “Liturgical” and think of stagnant, stuffy, rote practices - devoid of meaning. But we are so wrong.
I think that while liturgy can certainly become any of the above, behind it is a desire to help people connect to a sacred and divine rhythm that permeates life and living.
God enters into the chaos and orders it.
God gives us rest from preparations and celebration.
He enters into our daily life and provides order.
And God’s not simply putting your life into order to suit you or to make it all work out in the end (God is not a genie), but he is ORDERING out of a sole desire to have you practice your faith and explore relationship with him.
Just soak in that truth for a second.
It’s sometimes easier for us to explore relationship and “dig in” when there’s a lot of hype and hubbub. There’s excitement and adrenaline and a bit of mob mentality involved. But to fully practice our faith and respond to God’s pursuit of us is perhaps harder in the calm places of life.
It may be because we’ve allowed the checklists and “to dos” break into our quiet rest.
It may be that we don’t do well alone, in silence, in calm, or in the quiet.
It may be that it’s just too intense to be quiet. To give God the space. To let go and reflect on God, the orderer.
So, let’s try to sit in this ordinary time. To rest in this space of the year that God has given us between divine celebrations. To deepen our relationship, faith, and practice.
To get into a different rhythm that is in no way...Ordinary.
Written by: Lydia Wells