Settling Into Ordinary Time?
Did you know there’s such a thing as the Christian calendar, or Christian year? On the Christian calendar, the new year begins on the first Sunday of Advent in late November or early December. From there the Christian year unfolds in a series of “feast days” and “seasons”: Christmas, Epiphany, Ash Wednesday/Lent, Palm Sunday, Holy Week, Easter/Eastertide, Ascension, Pentecost and so on — all the way through the celebration of Christ the King in November.
The Christian calendar goes back many centuries as a way of ordering our 365-day year. As pastor/theologian Mark D. Roberts puts it, the Christian calendar “depends, not on the positions of the sun and moon, nor on the start and end of school, nor on the requirements of the IRS, but rather on key aspects of the life of Christ that are coordinated with the solar calendar.”
Once we get to Pentecost on the Christian calendar — June 4 this year — we come to a rather long season known as Ordinary Time. That sounds nice, doesn’t it? Ordinary Time. After all, nothing’s been very ordinary about the last six months. On top of that crazy December-January weather, there’s been a lot of illness, with some of you getting knocked flat for several weeks. Many of us have been confronted by death in the last six months, or by some other challenge or crisis. We’ve also had a number of special events at MPC, including the Youth Auction on April 30, the 4Hands4Hope concert on May 7, various Transition Team surveys, and the DISCOVERING TRUE NORTH event on May 21. Whew! After all that, I can’t help but like the sound of Ordinary Time.
The Christian calendar reminds us that life contains both Big Events and Ordinary Time, busyness and relaxation — that both are good and both are necessary. The Christian calendar reminds us that rhythms of time are important—that the seasons of the Christian year bring a rightful and beautiful order to our lives and to our life together. Here are a few things that will be going on at MPC during this upcoming season of Ordinary Time:
- Summer worship – One service at 10:00 a.m. beginning June 11 through September 3.
- Summer office hours – Tuesday-Friday 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., beginning June 6. (Our Office Manager has put in extra hours in recent months, and the summer schedule will compensate for that. As usual, the church office is closed on Mondays and there’ll be just one Announcer for July and August.)
- Summer reading – The Will of God as a Way of Life by Jerry Sittser. Combined with our summer sermon series, this book will re-ground all of us in some of the basics of our Christian discipleship.
- The Transition Team will complete their report from DISCOVERING TRUE NORTH and present it to the congregation after worship on June 11. Opportunities for you to participate in some informal follow-up conversations are being made available as well.
- Due to an array of summer travel plans, some of it international, the PNC will be meeting during the second half of June for some team-building activities, followed by their official presbytery training in early August. Their first task is completion of the Ministry Information Form, which will enable them to start actively searching for MPC’s next permanent pastor.
- The grand tradition of VBS and the annual mission trip to Skagway, Alaska. The Session will be meeting throughout the summer, sizing up their goals and projects for the next 6-9 months in light of the Transition Team’s report.
- You all will be praying, mowing the lawn, reading your Bibles, puttering in your gardens, welcoming newcomers, and caring for one another.
I once heard someone say, “God’s blessing is on our ordinariness.” I think he meant that underneath, and behind, and above, and around, and even in our ordinariness, God is present and at work. So enjoy this season of Ordinary Time — of shifting gears, pacing yourselves, and allowing God to put together some of the pieces of your own life and of MPC’s future.
Warmly in Christ,