Ordinary Time – by Kim Holmes Grasmick/Council Member-Evangelism & Outreach
Our liturgical calendar shows seasons, like Advent, Lent and Easter, with the longest season called Ordinary Time. We are right in the middle of Ordinary Time now, and have returned to using the Revised Common Lectionary, which aligns with the liturgical calendar.
Ordinary Time doesn’t mean that this period is commonplace or simply a placeholder between holidays. The usage of the word Ordinary comes from the word ordinal, which means counted. The Sundays are counted, so this coming Sunday will be the Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost, with Pentecost marking the end of Easter. Ordinary Time is divided into two parts. The first part consists of Sundays counted after Epiphany and the second part is after Pentecost. Ordinary Time has either
33 or 34 weeks, depending on how the days fall on the calendar. The altar paraments and pastors’ stoles are green, to indicate our growth in faith as we follow the teachings and ministry of Christ, which we read about in the Revised Common Lectionary. The symbol for Ordinary Time is the Chi-Rho, the first 2 letters of the Greek word for Christ.
So that time between Christmas and Lent is Ordinary Time and the time after Easter and until Advent is Ordinary Time – the times when the seasons can also seem nondescript and ordinary. What I want to say to you, though, is that Ordinary Time not ordinary – It is during this time that we celebrate the mystery of Christ as we read about His ministry and we focus on his saving acts:
- He preached about the kingdom of God
- He healed people and performed miracles, like the feeding of the 5000
- He ministered to those who needed his agape love
John Lennon sang that “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Church life is exciting and busy during Advent, Lent and Easter – we plan wonderful activities and are so moved by the special programming – this is truly “Extraordinary Time” and Silverdale Lutheran Church always rises to the occasion to make these seasons memorable. But life is what happens in between, and during Ordinary Time, life at SLC is anything but ordinary. Every week our staff and congregation are busy growing our faith and evangelizing in Word and deed by:
- Cooking and serving hearty meals
- Planning and attending Bible studies and small groups
- Planning, leading and attending worship
- Planning, practicing and performing music
- Visiting the home-bound
- Supporting the foodbank and backpacks for kids
- Maintaining our church property and Lutherhaven
- Keeping our children and youth engaged and educated
- Welcoming guests and fellowshipping over coffee and snacks
- Man Dates and Ladies’ Nights Out
And then there is the truly extraordinary stuff that happens during Ordinary Time
- Youth auction, servant trip and gathering
- Vacation Bible School
- Lutherhaven Family Camp, All Church Camp, and youth nights
- Sunday brunches raising hundreds of dollars for ministries
- Ride for Refugees
- Summer BBQ, loving Kitsap by giving out books, school and sports supplies, backpacks and snacks
- Cooking for the Benedict House
- Men’s Retreat & Women’s Retreat
- Rally Sunday’s amazing Loving Kitsap servant stations, special music and message
I could go on and on, and I know I’ve skipped as many ministries as I’ve listed.
Next Sunday, the Gospel reading from the Revised Common Lectionary is Mark 8:27 – 38, “Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Messiah.””
Peter recognized that Jesus was the Messiah that his scriptures had promised beginning in Genesis. We Christians like to focus on the extraordinary good news in the New Testament. The Old Testament can seem more ordinary or less relevant than the New Testament. Its history and literature are full of stories of wars and smiting and slogging through pages and pages of law and genealogy. But Peter knew and loved these old scriptures. He knew how to recognize the Messiah because it had been so intricately spelled out for him. It was only by putting Jesus’ words and actions together with scripture that he understood who He was. This scripture, on a Sunday in Ordinary Time, is anything but ordinary. It is extraordinary. The Messiah, the savior, has come. Hallelujah!