Ordinary Time

Recently I was looking around for some apps that would help me in my devotional life.  I scrolled through various Bible and prayer apps and podcasts – mostly seeing what was out there but also looking for some different things to try.  I came across a prayer app that was put together by British Jesuits.  It has a daily audio reading and prayers.  Some days it’s pretty good, some days less so.  But it follows a liturgical calendar, and there was a phrase that came up that caught my attention.

At the beginning of each day, the reader will introduce the day according to the liturgical calendar.  So one day will be the feast of so and so, while another will be such and such a day in the 3rd week of Easter.  That sort of thing.  Here is the phrase that always catches me.  The reader will say, “It is Wednesday whatever date it is, in the 10th week of ordinary time.”  Ordinary time.  I like that.

Because most of my life is ordinary time.  And ordinary time is where I need to be most mindful of God.  I have very little trouble calling out to God in very bad times.  My prayer life does not suffer when I am in over my head or somebody is sick or I need help.  And I have no trouble in those moments believing that there is a God who can help.  Who wants to help.  Who I need.  Perhaps that’s not great theology and I would rarely express it that way.  But that’s the way we live sometimes right?  Keep God close for the emergencies and be kind of indifferent the rest of the time.  For lots of people that seems to be a sort of lived out theology.

So God in bad times usually isn’t an issue.  Much the same with God in good times.  In the face of real good news or answered prayer or moments of great joy and celebration, I have very little trouble thanking a good God who makes this possible.  The love, peace and joy of God are all things I can get behind in moments like this.  

But it’s the great ordinary middle where I can struggle.  Where I can take God for granted.  Where I can feel stuck and let my mind wander.  Where I can get lulled into disobedient thought or action because it’s just ordinary.  So it is in ordinary time where I need to be aware of God the most.  It is in ordinary time where I need to live in response to who He is and how much He loves.  It is in ordinary time where I need to be held accountable for how I live, love and serve, where I need to be committed to meeting with God daily by reading His word, talking and listening in prayer and being still so He can be heard.  Where I need to practice the means of Grace so that my life is open to the ongoing work of His Spirit and where I need to be attentive to all around me who need to see and experience God’s love through me.

My hunch is that if I continue to ignore God in ordinary time, I will be less ready to run to Him in difficult time and less ready to praise and thank Him in good time.  Ordinary time not well kept will cause drift. So I need to be a good steward of ordinary time.

Ordinary time is where much of my life is lived.  How awesome that God is there with me.  Lord help us all make the best of the ordinary time you give us.    

Marc McAlister

Director of Church Health