by Angier Brock
Those who follow the Christian liturgical calendar will know that we recently entered “Ordinary Time,” that longest of liturgical seasons, beginning after Pentecost and lasting until Advent. I confess that I have sometimes referred to “Ordinary Time” (with its twenty-some-week run that is unbroken by any major liturgical feast or fast) disparagingly, calling it “the long green season” (green being the color used for altar hangings and priestly vestments during Ordinary Time).
“Not so fast,” someone recently challenged me when I told her that. She went on to point out that Ordinary Time is anything but ordinary if by “ordinary” we mean “uneventful” or “insignificant.” She suggested that a quick perusal of national news headlines, or the obituary pages and wedding sections of our local newspaper papers, are proof enough of that.
Or we can simply turn to our own engagement calendars. This week, for example, I will take my car to the dealer for its 75,000-mile scheduled maintenance visit. I will go to bell choir practice. I have invited some friends for lunch, and we will eat fresh peas out of my back-yard garden. I will mail a graduation gift to a cousin’s child. I will visit my college roommate, spending a couple of days with and her two-year old grandson and ten-week old granddaughter who recently lost their young father to leukemia. I will purchase tickets to a local production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. And I will end the week with other family members celebrating my own younger son’s fortieth birthday.
Some of that is routine, yes. But insignificant? No, not to those involved. Ordinary? Not if I consider the marvels of the combustion engine, for example, or of our modern roads and highway system (rush hour traffic notwithstanding)—things I often take for granted. Not if I think about how both the good old-fashioned postal system and our modern technology facilitate communication. Not when I remember the magic of music and theater or the grace that can come from being with those mourn. Not when I consider the wonder of photosynthesis or the miracles of birth and growth and change. My younger son. Forty! Imagine that!
I am grateful for the reminder that “the long green season” is characterized by all the same lively and varied energies that are present in other liturgical seasons. Ordinary Time calls us to live as faithfully and as fully as we can. May it be so.