Since the feast of Pentecost (15 May this year), the church is in ‘ordinary time’: this means that we are not marking any particular season of the church’s year, Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter or (in the Church of England) the season between All Saints’ Day and Advent when we think about the communion of saints.
Ordinary time is, in some ways, the default setting for our public worship, the background against which our seasonal worship stands out. Although there are important feasts during ordinary time, like Trinity Sunday and All Saints’ Day, ordinary time is when the church is not celebrating any particular facet of our faith: hangings and vestments are green and there are no seasonal variations on the words or actions of our liturgy.
But ‘ordinary time’ may be a misleading name for this time of year. For a Christian, there is never anything ordinary about following Jesus. Jesus warned people thinking about becoming his followers that, if they did, it would transform their whole lives. Following Jesus means being led into a new sort of life.
The extra-ordinariness of being a disciple of Jesus is not a requirement he puts on his followers (although a willingness to have him as Lord of our whole lives is certainly necessary), it is a gift: specifically, the Gift of the Holy Spirit. He enables Christians to do extraordinary things and to live an extraordinary life: the life of Jesus living in us through his Spirit.
‘Ordinary’ Christianity is anything but: it is a life of continuing Jesus’ mission, enabled by the Holy Spirit to live as adopted daughters and sons of God. We are called to take part in the life of God the Holy Trinity.
Fr Mike Healey (priest-in-charge)