A number of years ago, a pastor-friend of mine reminded me of an important truth: “All 52 count,” he said with conviction. “You never know when the Lord plans to reveal himself in a new way to one of his children. So we have to give care to each week’s service, trusting that the Sunday to come may be one which helps facilitate that revelation.”
It was a breath of fresh air and a slap across the face all at once. On one hand, I was energized by my friend’s understanding of our charge in planning and leading God’s people in worship—of it’s priority, it’s weight, and importance. But on the other hand, his words reminded me that there’s no such thing as an “easy” week or a Sunday where I could just operate on auto-pilot, believing it to be less significant than another.
Following the seasons of Lent, Easter, and Pentecost, it would be easy to enter Ordinary time with a less-than-enthusiastic approach. After all, there are few pinnacle Sundays to plan during this season (though Christ the King Sunday has become one of my favorites!). The drama of Holy Week, jubilation of Easter Sunday, and charisma of Pentecost are behind us (at least for a few months) and it is tempting to assume that Ordinary time is something of a “break in the action” or a chance for us to get ahead in planning Advent for the year to come.
This is, of course, a complete misunderstanding of the season in which we presently find ourselves. While Ordinary time is a season in which no major feasts or festivals may be celebrated, it is significant in reminding us of the Holy Spirit’s presence and work in the everyday places and moments of our world.
It is a time where we can remember and identify with Christ’s disciples who remained following his earthly ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension—when we find ourselves inspired by the church we read of in the books of Acts and the Epistles.
It is a season where we keep faith of God’s transformative work happening in us and through us, despite the lack of pomp or formal celebration we might experience in other seasons.
And it is a time when we are reminded that the story of Christ is not just that which is in that past; rather, that which we are living within–awaiting his ultimate return and reign.
The season of Ordinary time is rich with possibility and potential for worshippers. It is a time when we fortify and inspire the Body with God’s word—reminding them of Christ’s invitation to come into his presence, feast, fellowship, and be sent out into a world which needs to encounter the incarnate Christ through our words, our actions, our attitudes, and our deeds.
May God bless you as you embrace this extraordinary charge during this season and encounter Christ every time your congregation gathers to worship.