Rebecca Graber is a Masters of Theological Studies and Masters in Social Work student at Samford University. She enjoys reading Martin Luther, Flannery O'Connor, and Sylvia Plath. Rebecca also enjoys laughing, cooking, destroying others in Catan, and taking pictures of her hedgehog, Odette. She is a staunch anti-cargo shorts activist; no man needs that many pockets, and if he tells you otherwise, he is probably hiding something. You can read more of her writing here.
What do you think of when you hear the word “ordinary”? Perhaps you think of things that are boring, uninteresting, normal, or familiar. Yet, the ordinary, the routine humdrum things of our lives can be some of the most formative and impactful elements of life; we are just so used to it that we don’t recognize it.
The Church recognizes that God breaks into all aspects of our lives-- including the ordinary, mundane elements of it. We even have a portion of our Church calendar called “Ordinary Time” (or time after Pentecost and Epiphany-tide). This time occurs between Epiphany and Ash Wednesday and between Pentecost and Advent (when we see the green vestments and altar colors).This time is in contrast to seasons of Advent, Lent, and Christmas-tide (extra-ordinary times), when we remember and celebrate “the specific, historic, supernatural acts of God in history that result in the salvation of creatures and creation” (Webber, Ancient Future Time).
While ordinary time may not recall specific saving acts of God in history, it does recognize that God’s saving act and mighty works continue to break forth into our lives today through the working of his Holy Spirit. In ordinary time, we continue to celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ every Sunday through the preaching of the Word and the celebration of Holy Communion. This is also usually the time when the pastor decides to preach through a book of Scripture for the edification of the Church.
Ordinary time, at first, may not seem special or exciting. However, think of a meaningful marriage. A couple does not only grow during special events like their wedding day, anniversaries, and the birth of their children (although these are important and essential elements of their relationship); they grow through the daily connection with one another, through the ordinary things like daily conversations, meals, and even chores.
Similarly, we the Church, the Bride of Christ, grow closer to our Bridegroom in the ordinary time while also recognizing the importance and significance of the “extraordinary time.”. Yet, it is in this time that God continues to shape us through his Word and Sacrament. In the everyday, in the non-eventful times, we still need Jesus Christ, we still must cling to him for our salvation and our sanctification. It is in the daily feasting of his Word, the daily connection to him through prayer, and the weekly reception of Holy Communion that we are shaped and formed. Because of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, no day is truly ordinary, because each day is a day we are called to obedience to and relationship with the Triune God.