I’m a relative newcomer to the Lectionary. I first became acquainted with it in the 80’s and have experimented with it, now for over 40 years. The Lectionary is dominated by seven major observances that take up a total of 19 Sundays: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost.
The rest of the year is for Ordinary Time – 34 Sundays. The word “ordinary” is taken from the numerical word “ordinal” which refers to the number of the week in Ordinary Time – “first week of ordinary time,” for example, or “sixth week in ordinary time.”
So the word Ordinary Time has a fairly insignificant meaning in the lectionary world. But I like to think of Ordinary as a way for us to think about how we will use the rest of our time following the Easter season. I like to think of Ordinary time as quotidian time. Garden-variety, household, ordinary, routine time.
To me, it feels like time slows down in the mind. In preaching, it gives me time to explore with others, topics that I don’t have time for in the Advent through Easter seasons. And in my daily meditations my mind seems released to be more playful and free-range. You know – ordinary.
Ordinary Time seems unscheduled and free. Free to clean up that mental closet that has been irritating me. Free to think about what I’d like to plan for the rest of the year. Maybe take a trip or read that book that I normally don’t have time for. Or consider my relationship with God and how I’d like to see that change or improve.
I’ve been looking forward to Ordinary Time. But at the end of it, sometime in November, I will be looking forward to Advent.