Ordinary Time

by The Rev. Dr. Jason Parkin, Rector

In some Christian traditions, including our own, this time of the year in the Church's calendar is known as the Season after Pentecost, or, simply, Pentecost, in homage to the great feast that both brings to a close the Easter Season and inaugurates the long period that runs until the beginning of Advent in the late autumn. In earlier times, when Pentecost was known as Whitsunday-or White Sunday, which alluded to the fact that the church and its clergy were vested in white rather than our current red-this season was known as Whitsuntide. Some denominations, by contrast, refer to this time as the Season of the Church or the Season of the Spirit; and still others refer to it as the Green Season, especially those that are increasingly focused on ecological and creation theology and worship. And, finally, there are those traditions that refer to this season as Ordinary Time.

Ordinary Time. The name reflects the fact that, unlike all other seasons, from Advent to Christmas, Epiphany to Lent, Holy Week to Easter, this time is not centered on events in the life of Jesus but, rather, on the ongoing, normal, "ordinary" life of the community of faith, the Church. During this time, we are given the opportunity and the challenge of pondering what it is to be the Body of Christ. In essence, the other seasons of the Church year prepare us for this time. The advent of the savior; his manifestation as the Holy One of God; his ministry, which constantly pointed people to God; the journey to the cross and the empty tomb; his gift of the Spirit: all of this leads toward the season in which we now find ourselves, and during which we remember that our lives of faith are lived not primarily in times of wonder and marvel but in the normal, mundane, garden variety moments of life. In ordinary time, in ordinary ways, as God's ordinary-ordinary yet profoundly beloved-people. Each of us is differently and wonderfully blessed by the Spirit, another theme of this season. In a very real sense, to be honest, there is never anything at all "ordinary" about being the people of God. But the paradoxically-named Ordinary Time provides us with the unique chance to use more deeply and more faithfully those gifts; to grow in Spirit as individuals and as a people; to reflect on the life God would have us live, empowered by the Spirit; and to become more and more the people of Jesus in our daily, routine, ordinary lives.

I will continue to refer to this time as the Season after Pentecost. Yet, I like the image of "Ordinary Time," and the reminder it gives all of us that our vocation and our privilege, as people of faith, is to live the Good News, day in and day out, come sorrow or celebration, in our regular, ordinary ways.