Ordinary Time/Extraordinary Story
Today is the first day of the second half of the Christian year--a long stretch that is referred to as Ordinary Time in the traditional Church calendar. It starts the day after Pentecost Sunday (which was yesterday) and ends on the first Sunday of Advent, which falls in December this year.
The whole first half of the Christian year is spent telling the story of God's great saving action in Jesus Christ--beginning in Advent, through Easter and culminating on Pentecost with the "birthday" of the Church.
So why is it called "Ordinary Time?" Does it mean that it's boring or second-rate? Absolutely not! It simply means that during this season of the year, Christians are called upon to absorb, assimilate and embody the incredible story of God's salvation in their daily life.
It's almost like the church mothers and fathers who came up with these kinds of rhythms knew that we needed some space to breathe and consider the implications of what it means to follow Jesus, day by day, week-in, week-out.
Today, one of the Scripture readings I read for this first day in Ordinary Time was from Ezekiel 36:26-27, which has this incredible promise from God for God's people:
26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
As we enter into this season of the Church calendar, my prayer for you is that you will claim this promise from God. I pray that if your heart has been turned "to stone" by the cares of this world, anxiety, fear, bitterness, anger or doubt, you will surrender to God and let God soften it through God's love.
And part of that surrendering process means opening yourself to experience Jesus anew, and to discover fresh ways to live out the joy of the Resurrection in your everyday life. When you do this, you will find that the Spirit of God will move you to transformation and renewal in ways you would have never thought possible.
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.