Not so ordinary.

a liturgical note from Deacon Mary Baker

You may have noticed that our liturgical colors have changed to green. Green is the seasonal color for the church season called Ordinary Time. Like me you might associate ordinary with boring, but this is not the case here! 

Ordinary. Not ordinary.

The word ordinary does not refer to ordinary as in “not unusual,” but rather derives from the word “ordinal,” as in ordinal numbers. It refers to the way we count the Sundays after Pentecost or Trinity Sunday. Here at All Souls we follow the English Anglican tradition of counting these Sundays “after Trinity,” because we celebrate Trinity Sunday, the Sunday after Pentecost. 

Two cycles

Christians have traditionally measured time in the first half of the liturgical year by centering on two cycles: the Advent cycle (Advent, Christmastide, the Season of Epiphany) and the Easter cycle (Lent and Eastertide culminating at the Feast of Pentecost). We begin the first half of the liturgical year contemplating the incarnation of our Lord and end it with Pentecost as the completion of the mystery of salvation — the giving of the Spirit by the Father after Christ has been glorified.

Celebrating the Trinity

We follow Pentecost with a grateful celebration of the unity of the Trinity. In the Advent and Easter cycles we do more than simply remember the events of the life of Jesus Christ. We bring these events into our present. Author Phillip Pfatteicher writes that these seasons are “in fact the actualization of these events, their renewal upon earth. Thus, the act of salvation — begun in Bethlehem, accomplished on Good Friday, vindicated on Easter Day, crowned on Ascension Day, is an ever-continuing process as its fruits are made real in the lives of those who accept this redemption.”

A time of rest

After the intensity of the Easter cycle, Ordinary Time comes as rest. It begins in early summer and it coincides with school being out. It is a time to remind ourselves simply of the love of God in our lives, his grace, his order, his providence in our lives. There are less celebrations on the church calendar — church life slows down just a bit. Thus, we have time to deepen our prayer life, to hear the Gospels as a disciple of Jesus, and to simply be. Green as a color symbolizes life and the fruitfulness of our renewed lives in Christ. We are living in the now — living lives surrendered to the arms of God.