Rev'd Kate Pearson, Anglican Chaplain, reflects on the gifts of the ordinary, everyday, times.
In my tradition of Church, we find ourselves in a sea of green. It is, apart from the odd more minor feast day, what’s known as Ordinary Time - the large expanse of weeks that begin when the the final echoes of celebrations from Easter have faded…with nothing much notable on the church diary until we reach end the church year in November and begin to look forward to, yes, I’m going to say it, Christmas.
Green is the colour of the Church’s Ordinary Time - it is the colour of our priest’s stoles and ceremonial vestments; the colour on our altars….
It can be a bit of a flat season within the church on Sundays - perked up occasionally by enthusiastic vicar’s call to really get our teeth stuck into something new. But for much of the season, church congregations may find themselves wistfully staring out of the window at the real sea of green as the beautiful UK countryside bursts into full summer maturity.
Ordinariness two years ago was something we were often not proud of, nor often sought. The images and messages around us were telling us that being extraordinary was the only real measure of a flourishing life. Today ordinariness is the thing many of us long for. You only have to look at the rush to book vaccinations; the queue for asymptomatic PCR testing; the debates in media about holidays or listen to the longing of many of our international students for the ordinariness of home, to grasp that;
I’ve been reflecting on what an ordinary God might be like. Not the God we meet in high days and feast days; the great highs and lows; the God of Sunday best, bathed in glory. But the God of the daily plod; the God of taking things for granted; the God of home is where the heart is.
In the Christian tradition, we get to know what God is like through the life of Jesus. The gospels, like many narrative traditions, tend to focus on the active bits - the less ordinary days and moments that create the arc by which we understand the message of Jesus Christ. But the approximate 65,000 words that we have that record Jesus’ life on earth, inevitably miss out all the ordinary bits. The plodding days of cleaning and sorting; the days when study was a grind; the walking with nowhere much to go; the gift for being able to take for granted home, safety, family, friends. But there is no way Jesus got to adulthood without days like these.
It won’t surprise you to know that, as a priest, I love high days and holidays; the big feast days of the church with all their pomp and joy and celebration. But today I feel drawn to the ordinary. To notice the God who also walks with us in this; the days that go by unnoticed. The God of the ordinary meets us in the sea of green that surrounds us; does not require lofty words but is delighted when we show up, pay attention for even just a moment, notice the gifts of the ordinary.
So as we walk together towards the ordinary, may we hold each other up on the way, cheering on the signs of the dull and everyday as they approach and notice the gifts in the seemingly least notable of days. May we find peace in the folding of clothes; the digging of the garden; the tidying of our bookshelves. For here goes our God.