This Sunday marks the end of what the church calendar calls Ordinary Time. Ordinary Time falls during two seasons in the calendar year. It first comes for several weeks in winter after Christmas and Epiphany and then comes again several months later to mark the season after Pentecost.
Ordinary Time is a season in which it seems nothing is happening. There are a few special days which come, but there are no special seasons or holidays such as Christmas, Epiphany, or Easter. I tell the children that when they see the green banners (aka paraments) in the church, they should remember that “green means grow.” By this time in ordinary time, the green is tiring, and the daily, weekly, monthly work of doing what the Lord and Christ has commanded as we await Jesus’ second coming, seems unending.
Experiencing the fullness of the gospel in the Ordinary may sometimes feel difficult. We like verbs or descriptors that are action words that speak of the special, radical, extreme, and powerful. Words or actions which speak of the every day such as duty, discipline, making your bed seem to wear us down. Ordinary just seems so ordinary, and who wants that?
A couple of those words which are ordinary words but which get pulled down into the mundane and unexciting of the life of waiting are “gratitude” and “thanksgiving.” Depending on when you hear the word it may be that you either ought to be more grateful or should be ashamed that you aren’t. And so we muster up the strength, rally our sluggish wills and write the note, send the text, or say the words, “Thank you.” Those moments seem a far cry from the flying high, powerful experience of the extraordinary.
The question we’re confronted with in Ordinary Time is, “Can I get to gratitude from where I am right now? In the wreckage of life, in the tediousness of details, and the pang of waiting, is there any way into gratitude which is full and humbling and joyful?” Psalm 75 gives us map, and we will be looking at the map this Sunday. I hope you can join us.