The season after Epiphany, like the Season after Pentecost is named Ordinary Time, so called, because each of our Sundays are numbered (i.e., ordinals) not because these days are dull. And yet there is something to the ordinariness of it. We are no longer living the joy of Christmas lights or the happy surprise of Epiphany. We are not yet journeying with Jesus on the road to the cross. These days, all the days in February this year, just are.
And our ordinary time is full of an unsettling new normal. We are two years into a pandemic, and we are still having to contend with masks, social distancing, staff shortages at schools and local businesses, and overfull hospitals. We have yet another mild winter with not enough snow on the mountains to keep our water table healthy. The political divisions deepen as Republicans and Democrats both peddle their own versions of reality. Everybody speaks their truth. No one is listening. The anxiety of the age has become our everyday life—our Ordinary Time.
One of the hazards of these anxious times is that we find it so easy to find things to worry about. With nostalgia tinted glasses, we remember the way things were and we bemoan the state of things. We complain about having to contend with ongoing restrictions. The numbered Sundays of Ordinary Time are an invitation for us to see Christ, not just in the special seasons and the Church’s high-holy-days, but amid our everyday life. It is a summons away from anxiety to awe, as we grow in grace as disciples of Christ.
My prayer for us in our anxious Ordinary Times is that we would lean into Jesus and, in the words of 1 Peter 5:7, we would ‘cast our cares on him, for he cares for us.’ And that we would awaken to wonder as we sense Christ’s abiding presence with us, our ordinary transformed into something extraordinary!