Ordinary Time

By Elaine Knudtson

“Ordinary Time between Feast and Penance”

The liturgical church calendar has 32 weeks of ordinary time between major feasts.  By far the longest time in the year, it represents over 70% of our life.  We mistakenly focus on the big events and lose sight of the day to day living that characterizes most of our journey.  If we anticipate or dread the extraordinary events, we might miss out on the best part of life.

“Ordinary Time”

Thirty-two weeks of “ordinary time”.

The time between birth and death

      planting and harvest

      weeping and laughing

      silence and speaking

      feast and penance.

In the ordinary time I learn to sit quietly and let the Spirit breathe through the forgotten memories of

     answered prayers,

            burdens lifted,

                   and insights given on the other side of chaos.

I seek God on the edges of ordinary time.

I EXPERIENCE Him inside it.

When the testing is over; I forget the fear of failure or death.

When the smoke dissipates; I minimize the sacrifice made in carrying me through the fire.

When the waters subside; I neglect to give thanks in proportion to the hours I spent petitioning for rescue.

Creation becomes the backdrop for life.

     A bird is just a bird I’ve heard before.

     The sun always rises.

     The river eternally flows in the same direction.

     Seasons simply follow the rotation of the planet.

     Life is predictable and uneventful.

Chores need to be done.

Work provides pay cheques, weekends, and vacations.

Quiet time becomes the occasion for flights of imagination into “what ifs” that seldom happen.

Family occupies the same space and interrupts the ordinary time, briefly, with chatter or requests.

I exist in this space, choosing not to focus on the death and resurrection on either side of these moments of calm.

The teacher, son of David, King of Jerusalem warns:  Meaningless!  Utterly meaningless.  Generations come and go, but the earth remains forever.  What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again.  There is nothing new under the sun.

One can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their work.  This. . . is from the hand of God, for without Him, who can eat or find enjoyment? (Ecclesiastes 1)

To the one who pleases Him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness.  When God gives wealth and possession and enables us to enjoy them, to accept our lot and be happy in our work–this is a gift of God.

We seldom reflect on the days of our life, because God keeps us occupied with gladness of heart. (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20)

I learn to “be” in ordinary time.

“Be still and know that I am God”

“Be still”

“Be.  . . “





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Paul was a preacher and teacher until he retired in 2015. He continues to write and listen to what God is saying to him in the ordinary and extraordinary things of life. Elaine was a public school teacher and administrator until she retired in 2018. She is using her retirement to reflect on God's work in her life and to share insights with her family and friends.

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