Ordinary Time

Ordinary time has begun, in more ways than one. For me this year, entering into ordinary time (yet another season of the liturgical year, and the longest...six months!) means entering into life after college, how fitting! I've been doing a bit of reading on this season, allow me to share some thoughts with you.

If you've been reading this blog for long, you'll have heard me mention Living The Christian Year by Bobby Gross. He has split the seasons into cycles.

First we have the Cycle of Light which includes Advent, Christmas and Epiphany. That cycle is all about the Incarnation, the anticipation of it, the fact that it actually came and the light that it brought. In other words, the Cycle of Light is all about God with us.

Next we move on to the Cycle of Life which includes Lent, The Pascal Triduum and Easter. Bobby Gross describes these seasons as being about God for us. We focus on Jesus' three years of ministry in Lent, His sacrifice during Holy Week and His Resurrection during Easter.

The last cycle encompasses all of Ordinary Time. This is the Cycle of Love. According to Bobby, this season is about God through us.

Now, I was good and didn't read ahead to Ordinary Time. I knew that it began on Pentecost (which was on Sunday) and not much else. Honestly, as fitting as it was to have Ordinary Time coincide so perfectly with my college graduation, I was also a little frustrated by the idea. All year, since Advent, I've been moving through the seasons, finding something new and deeply meaningful nearly every day. But what is there to find in Ordinary Time? It just sounds so, well, ordinary.

So, Pentecost had me flying across the country, missing the service at my church in Indiana where they were going to mix things up by doing the Star Wars Prayer (otherwise known as Eucharistic Prayer C) and not feeling at all as though I were being filled with the Spirit like a rushing wind or covered in tongues of holy fire (in fact, at that point, I was hoping to avoid being covered in fire...). On Monday, I awoke with a full-blown head cold, a graduation gift in return for all my late nights and less than healthy food choices during finals week. What could be more ordinary? At least, that was my thought.

But then, I read the chapter on Ordinary Time. Shockingly, this season is about tension. It's about the tension between Work and Rest, The Church and The World, Us and our Neighbor. It is that very tension that holds our lives together.

Up till now, the seasons have been anchored with Biblical stories about Jesus and His time on earth, but now, it's time to see what the Incarnation looks like in our lives. Jesus promised His disciples that He would send His Spirit as a Helper, Comforter and Corrector (among other things) on Pentecost, He did that.

Still, we live in the tension of here and there, already and not yet, almost but not quite. I understand that well. On Saturday, I said 'see you soon' to people that I love dearly, not knowing when our paths will cross again. If Ordinary Time meant time without those people, I didn't want any part of it. But it doesn't, not really. It's about rhythm, about catch and release, about leaving and coming home, about sleeping and waking up...about saying goodbye, and saying hello once more.

We are supposed to live our lives as Christians in the present tense. Sometimes, the present tense seems awfully ordinary. Sometimes it is boring or unfulfilling or just plain hard. Sometimes it involves having a cold that keeps you from doing much more than moaning and watching hulu. But it's part of a cycle, a tension...and there is beauty in that.

As we walk into Ordinary Time together, I hope that you will be blessed with great love, which can flow in and through you, no matter what life happens to be at the time.