back to “ordinary time”

All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

“Ordinary Time” is a liturgical term used for the western church calendar that is other than the special seasons such as Advent and Lent. Although there’s at least a bit more to it as to why this term was adopted for the church calendar, I like the concept of ordinary. So often we’re tied up in knots over this and that, then something else. And we just need to get back to what might seem irrelevant, even too often mundane. What’s next in Scripture? And go slowly from one thing to the next.

I know that has nothing to do with the exact reason for the use of this term, as it has to do with times not marked by special occasion. Yes, it’s wonderful to have the special seasons of Advent then Christmas and Christmas season as well as Lent and Easter along with Eastertide. We can and should benefit from such wonderful occasions which help us to focus on Christ and the good news in him. Similarly there are those special seasons in our lives in which we’re working on this and that, oftentimes for me in regard to anxiety and spiritual warfare. But by and by we have to just lay those things aside, and keep plodding along from what might seem ordinary in that we may find it rather unremarkable, and not that related to us. But that’s when we need to slow down all the more, because God will help us to see and receive what we truly need from every part of Scripture. Admittedly, some specific parts are challenging that way, such as in Leviticus, though if we step back and look at each part from the perspective of the whole, we might gain some better appreciation for it, as well as some connection to life in the present.

Crisis and trials and troubles do hit us, and we can call those extraordinary times in which God wants to do a most significant work. But even in ordinary time we can’t avoid trouble, and we do well to settle in for something more low key, realizing that while we do seek to tackle issues head on at times, by and large we again do well to settle into the mode of taking one thing after the other. Realizing that we need it all, everything God has to give us in Scripture which is actually related to and through the gospel. Such will help us even with reference to the problems we work at better negotiating. We need the entire picture, the whole context, to better understand each part. God is present to help us in this as we keep moving forward day after day, yes in ordinary time, in ordinary life. In and through Jesus.

God’s Spirit pervades all of life

If it were [God’s] intention
and he withdrew his spirit[a] and breath,
all humanity would perish together
and humankind would return to the dust.

Job 34:14-15

On Pentecost Sunday we rightfully remember the strange and powerful coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost as recounted in Acts 2. What we need to remember with that, as told here in the book of Job, is that God’s Spirit actually pervades all of life. Without the Spirit there would be no life of any kind, be it both physical and spiritual. As we remember in Genesis, God made the man and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living being (Genesis 2:7).

We’re too often looking for the unusual, and it’s not as if that doesn’t happen. We see plainly from the pages of Scripture that it does. And if the eyes of our heart are open, we’ll see this in life, as well. But most of life is ordinary. And yet it is every bit as special as the extraordinary because God’s Spirit pervades all of life.

That doesn’t mean there’s not a special dispensing of God’s Spirit to all who believe in Christ, and to God’s church in Christ, for indeed there is. But it does mean that we might find God’s Spirit active in unexpected places. In a sense in all of life. And really in every part of our lives, the seemingly mundane and in our minds even unimportant, as well as those special times when either the Spirit breaks through to help us, or we feel so desperately in need of the Spirit. Yes, through all of life God’s spirit/Spirit is present. For the good of the earth. For everyone, and especially for all who are in Christ individually and together. For the blessing of all people, that they too might receive the fullness of life that is in Christ. In and through Jesus.