Greetings from the Moderator FEBRUARY 2020
A New Song In Ordinary Time
It’s February. We’ve come down from the heights of Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, put away Christmas decorations, and rotated out Christmas CDs and playlists. We’re back to ordinary life and ordinary Sundays - nothing notable in the church year until Ash Wednesday (February 26th this year). We are solidly in what the liturgical calendar calls Ordinary Time.
How easy it is to fall back into the ordinary routines of life! Last month I encouraged you to “Sing unto the Lord a new song” but where do we find a new song in Ordinary Time? The word “ordinary” describes that which has no special or distinctive features; that which is routine, mundane, commonplace, unexciting - certainly not new. But, is Ordinary Time really . . . ordinary?
“Ordinary Time” is the English translation of the Latin Tempus Per Annum, “time throughout the year” also called “ordered” or “counted” time. The weeks are “Ordinary” because we order (count) them with ordinal numbers (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc.) Ordinary Time refers to the weeks between the end of Christmas and the start of Lent, and again between Pentecost and the start of Advent. We count the Sundays of Ordinary Time (“First Sunday after Pentecost”, e.g.) just as we count those of Advent (“First Sunday of Advent”), etc.
The liturgical seasons celebrate specific aspects of the life of Christ. Ordinary Time is not a liturgical season; it is the time outside the seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter. Ordinary Time celebrates our call to follow Christ, whom we welcomed at Christmas, into our everyday lives. It is a time to learn more about Jesus, to grow and mature in our faith - to be disciples.
Green, the liturgical color for Ordinary Time, symbolizes life and growth.
Paul is talking about Ordinary Time - day to day life - in Col.2:6-7 (NASB):
As you therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.”
“Firmly rooted”: Send down the roots of faith. Send them deep into the ground, which is Christ living in you. The image is of roots reaching down for water and nourishment.
“Being built up”: Strengthened and reinforced by the Gardener. A young tree can grow too tall and thin, and be bent over or broken by the wind. But when staked to a solid guide, properly nourished, and pruned for purposeful growth, it develops a strong trunk, able to support spreading branches full of fruit.
“Overflowing with gratitude”: That sounds like the opportunity for a new song! I can sing a song of gratitude for salvation, for Christ’s indwelling, the Holy Spirit’s teaching, and the work God is doing in my life (even for the pruning).
Psalm 92:12-15 (NASB) tells of the result of such growth:
The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree,
He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Planted in the house of the LORD,
They will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still yield fruit in old age;
They shall be full of sap and very green,
To declare that the LORD is upright;
He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
The purpose of all that growth and fruitfulness is to “declare that the LORD is upright.” Our lives can bring glory to God and bears witness of God to others. Here is another opportunity for a new song!
Ordinary Time . . . No day is ordinary when lived in the presence of God, and every day is Ordinary (both counted and counts for something) when lived for God.
Looking for new songs in Ordinary Time,