OUT OF THE NOT-QUITE-SO-ORDINARY...
On this Monday evening, thinking about you and the other saints of North Cross UMC, I could not, for the life of me, think about what to write for this week's Monday's Musings. It seems like for the past few months, there has been so much of note that these columns came rather easily. Between Embracing Opportunity, Thanksgiving, Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany, the problem hasn't been a lack of topics, but narrowing those topics down to one (hopefully) coherent message.
Then it hit me: There is a reason why our friends in other Christian traditions refer to this season between Epiphany and Ash Wednesday as 'Ordinary Time (I).' Ordinary Time refers to the two seasons (after Epiphany and after Pentecost) where we the church focus on living out the gospel of Christ in everyday activities, without a specific target in mind.
So what? Well, dear friends, this is where the joy of celebrating the seasons of the Christian year are so important to our faith. During the high holy seasons of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany, we joined in our family tradition of remembering what it was like to be people who lived without the presence of Christ, using the four weeks of Advent (Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love) to prepare us for the glorious celebration of Christmas Day.
The question we must ask ourselves, and the question that demands attention on these rather ordinary Monday evenings is…WHY DO YOU THINK THAT WE CELEBRATE THOSE SEASONS?
Maybe, just maybe, part of the reason we celebrate and observe those season is precisely because the ordinary times of life come far more often. Maybe, just maybe, it's so that when we sit around on an average Monday night, thinking that there is nothing particularly memorable or noteworthy, the memories of the past seasons and the anticipation of the upcoming seasons might, just might, sustain us throughout the rest of the days.
Maybe, just maybe, we can sit here on this rather ordinary Monday evening and be people who know that in these ordinary times we have an opportunity to look back to the past and celebrate what God has done, and celebrate the fact that we have a season to look forward to celebrating soon.
Or, in other words, maybe the season of ordinary time goes beyond the concept of following a simple calendar year and focuses us instead on the reality that we, too, have a much bigger picture to look at - we celebrate what God has done throughout history (Creating everything out of nothing, Redeeming creation by coming to be with us by becoming one of us, and Sustaining creation by the work of the Holy Spirit from the day of Pentecost) and anticipate what is yet to come (Christ coming again in glory to complete the work begun in his life, death, and resurrection - the reconciling of creation with it's creator.)
My friends, we may be in an ordinary time right now. And that's ok. However, may we never fail in these ordinary times to know that we are called to participate in the work of God here and now in fulfillment of the Great Commission to go forth and make disciples of all nations while also joyfully anticipating the reality that the best is yet to come, because one day Christ will come again and everything will be as it should be for all eternity.
Grace and Peace, Lamar
P.S. The picture of the tiger? Figured it might be a little more attention-getting to catch a tiger yawning than a human being..