Dear Friends in Christ:
Well, it is Ordinary time again!
Ordinary time is a term used in the Roman Catholic Church to indicate the parts of the liturgical year that are not included in the major seasons of the church calendar. I have also heard it referred to as the teaching time of the year when the readings tend toward the ministry of Jesus during his lifetime and thus the stuff of teachable moments in his life. This time runs through the summer months and into the fall and ends as Advent begins a new church year.
It used to be that things slowed down in the church during Ordinary time, and it continues to be a time when church attendance and revenue take a hit in many congregations. I remember reading a book a few years ago by a person who wanted to fight against the tendency of the church to, “take a break”. He suggested that church choirs and Sunday schools should not go on break during the summer months; that churches should not consolidate services but keep to the schedule they have had all along. Many people tried these ideas, in some places they “worked” and in others they did not! I wonder now how many churches “take a break” during the summer months and what those breaks look like. I suspect the leadership of churches, both ordained and lay, does not get much of a break in the summer these days!
One might also ask what value there may be in slowing down for the summer. Might we see it as a time of listening for the Spirit of God? Or even as a time to “let God move into a situation,” similar to how we sometimes wait for a fruit to ripen before enjoying it? I wonder if we assume that God moves at whatever pace we set only to discover that God’s time is not our time and that when we wait on the Lord, good things can happen that otherwise would not occur.
In any case, we are on to Ordinary time; on to the summer months, waiting on the Lord, and expecting that the waiting will bear much fruit.
This last Sunday I spent the day at Trinity Cathedral, (thanks to acting Dean Nathan LeRud and the leadership of the Cathedral). The morning was a very blessed time of confirmations, the blessing of Icons, the dedication of a new Cross in the courtyard and being present to God in worship (as well as the ice cream afterwards!). I look forward this week to a trip to Ascension, Portland.
p.s. My apologies to the Rev. Anne Emry for the misspelling of her name in last week’s note! And thanks to Anne for being gracious about it!