Thursday, June 20, 2019

Ordinary Time

We, the church, are now in the time after Pentecost. Pentecost is that time when the Spirit came with power that could only be described as flaming tongues and wind. It was the gift that left the followers of Jesus “on fire.” Pentecost is what we all seek. We all, I think, want to be so filled with the Holy Spirit that we are “on fire” with love for God and neighbor.

Now, most of us, maybe, experience moments when we are “on fire.” We experience moments when we feel close to God and alive with God’s presence. Remember the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet. Jesus is at supper with some of the leaders when this woman slips up behind him and anoints his feet. Judas protests: “This should have been sold and given to the poor.” This woman is a sinner. What right does she have to anoint Jesus’ feet?

But the woman is so filled with love for Jesus that her loves spills out in oil on Jesus’ feet. She loves so deeply and well that she cannot keep it in a bottle. It spills out in extravagance. It’s more than is needed or maybe wanted. It is nothing less than the extravagant love of someone who is “on fire” with love.

We all experience moments like this. But, most of our lives are filled with ordinary life. The church calls this time after Pentecost and Trinity Sunday Ordinary Time. It is an acknowledgement that we experience the power of the Spirit, the resurrection of Jesus, and then we go back to Ordinary Time. In ordinary time, we work out with the Spirit what it all means. We are baptized, saved, renewed and then we spend the rest of our lives working out its meaning for us.

In the Christian Year, there are many more ordinary days that High days. Now, ordinary days does not mean that it’s all just hum-drum and boring. That would be the way the world would hear this. In our present world we are so intent on not having ordinary days that we drug our selves to death. Every day and every moment must be “high.” If it’s not “high” then it’s boring.

Nonsense. Ordinary time wants to remind us that extravagant love is being poured out through Jesus to us every moment of every day.

In fact, the word “ordinary’ comes from the idea and word that our lives are ordered in the presence and life of God in Jesus. Ordered, not determined in the strictest sense, means that as people of faith our lives are ordered by God. It doesn’t mean that we can step outside God’s order; we often do. It means that over the long haul, if we are living in Christ we are being shaped and ordered toward the life that God would have us to lead.

Read Psalm 37:23. The steps of a person are ordered by God. So, in ordinary time, we are praying: “Order my steps, Lord...”. God is acting in the universe, in all times, times of “highness” and in ordinary times to order our lives to his will.

Order my steps, Lord.

Dave NIchols

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