4 Jul 2023 • Articles
‘Goodbye Jesus!’ No, this is not a late reflection on the Ascension – after all, we have entered the long season of Trinity. Trinity always seems to herald the holiday season and, give or take the few weeks of exam stress for students, feels like a time for relaxing and taking things easy. For someone, like me, who endures cold hands for the greater part of the year the long warm days of summer truly are a blessing. Life can seem so much more comfortable and calmer in what is called ‘Ordinary Time’ than the frantic period during the season from Advent to Pentecost.
It may seem a little strange to refer to these long weeks as ‘ordinary’, as if they are routine or even mundane. The word ‘ordinary’ here is actually derived from the term ordinal, which refers to rank or position, especially relating to numbers. In the lectionary the Sundays have numbered ‘propers’ – butthat’s probably getting too technical!
Our lives tend to revolve around routine – the trivial round, the common task (as the hymn ‘New every Morning’ goes) speaks of structure and familiarity. The majority of our days can seem to be generally unremarkable, but even so we ought to catch glimpses of God’s blessings, love and maybe glory. Each day starts fresh and with the potential of hope and a sense of moving closer to God. Perhaps this should beour appreciation of ordinary time, the many chances we have to offer our lives to God, so that they may be transformed by God’s, making ours more beautiful. It can become a time for growing and maturing in faith, and becoming living examples of Christ in the places we inhabit as we understand more about the practical life of God’s Kingdom.
The big challenge of our churches is growing disciples, looking for new ways of expressing and sharing the Gospel message. It’s easy to overlook the obvious sometimes, as ordinariness can feel inadequate – after all, where is the charisma in ordinary? But just occasionally we are offered a little glimpse of the impact of an ordinary life in an off the cuff remark. I am part of a team that goes into schools with Open the Book. On an ordinary morning we entered the school gates to see pupils from one year who were waiting to board a coach for a short trip. After a few light-hearted chats, and as the coach pulled up, one young lad replied to my farewell greeting with “Goodbye Jesus!” Not wishing to rise above my status, I had a wry smile, but realised that he had engaged with what we were doing through the medium of presenting the Bible in this way. He had made a connection.
Who said, ‘ordinary is boring?’
Rev John Lander,
Self-supporting minister for Uttoxeter Area , based in Bramshall.