Sponsor spotlight: Ordinary Time? What kind of season is that?

The weeks of Ordinary Time encompass over half the church year — from Trinity Sunday (in May or June) to Christ the King Sunday (in late November), which means we live out the bulk of our lives in this season. This seems appropriate, for Ordinary Time is the daily, repetitive — even dull — place where we live most of the time.

In January 2007, the Washington Post conducted an experiment. For 43 minutes during morning rush hour inside a Washington, D.C., Metro station, internationally acclaimed violinist Joshua Bell, clad in jeans and a long-sleeved T-shirt, played some of the world’s greatest classical music on his Stradivarius. The Post expected to have problems with crowd control. But of the almost 1,100 people who walked past Bell that morning, only one person recognized him and only four stopped to listen to him for any length of time. The rest passed by, most of them not even noticing that he was there.

It strikes me that this story is a good image for Ordinary Time. In the midst of our daily lives, it is all too easy to get ground down by our tasks and responsibilities until we become blind and deaf to all but the routine busyness of our lives. But when we are too busy, too hurried or too preoccupied with our work, our schedules, our agendas, we miss out on the ways and places God encounters us — or tries to– in the midst of, say, rush hour on an ordinary Friday morning. We don’t give ourselves time or permission to notice, let alone stop and listen awhile. Living the season of Ordinary Time can hallow our daily lives and enable us to remember that God is with us — always and everywhere.

The word ordinary is rooted in the word ordinal, to count. Thus, these “days between,” as writer Wendy Wright calls them, are not simply ordinary in the way we usually use that word — uneventful, unimportant, boring — but are actually “Counted Time,” time that counts, that matters.

Designating the bulk of each liturgical year as “Ordinary Time” is a profound way of recognizing that the daily, ordinary rhythms of our lives are sacred; that there is something holy to be found in the midst of what often feels like the daily grind; that God is just as present in the grittiness (and the glory) of an ordinary day as in the great celebrations of Christmas or Easter or Pentecost.

The promise of Ordinary Time is that God is present in the midst of our ordinary, everyday lives, in the midst of all our tasks and to-dos. And the invitation of Ordinary Time is to pay attention, to notice that God is right here, right now, with us. Even on an ordinary Friday during rush hour.

— By K.C. Ireton, author of The Circle of Seasons: Meeting God in the Church Year and parishioner at Holy Trinity Edmonds


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