Around The Movement - 7.26.19

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Grace and peace to you!

This morning, I’m thinking about the nature of Ordinary Time.

For those of us not raised in a liturgical tradition, the liturgical seasons of the church can often pass without much thought or knowledge; this can rob us of a helpful resource in living the message of Jesus through our lives. Ordinary Time (the season between Pentecost and Advent, taking up half the church year) gets the shortest shrift of them all: less structured than Advent, less dramatic than Lent, less celebratory than Easter, less exciting than Pentecost. It can seem, for lack of a better word, ordinary.

In a world based around celebrating the extraordinary, Ordinary Time is a radical concept. Though it’s a bit of a misnomer (in this context, “Ordinary” has to do with numbers, not normalcy), I think there’s a lesson for us activists/advocates/change-makers/warriors here:

“Ordinary” Time is where we form ourselves for “Extraordinary” Time.

(I’ll pause so you can finish rolling your eyes at me)

Seriously though - The pomp and circumstance and drama of a Big Sunday gets all the attention, but we prepare ourselves for them through formation in ordinary, everyday moments. Without Ordinary Time, we find ourselves woefully unprepared for the birth of Jesus or the coming of the Holy Spirit. Rev. Karla Kincannon says “[Ordinary Time] is the ideal time to teach ways to deepen faith by practicing the presence of God in every ordinary moment of the day.”

So for those of us who live our lives focused on the Greatest Commandments (loving God and loving our neighbors) through social advocacy and activism, applying that lesson to our lives means understanding that not every day is a rally, or a protest, or a vote, or a Big Historic Moment. Some days are just ordinary. And that’s a very good thing. Big moments in social justice are kind of like jazz - it’s the space between where the magic happens.

I hope you’ll take this time to focus on growing in your understanding of a social issue or a part of the movement to prepare yourself for what’s next. Maybe you’ll read the UMC Social Principles for the first time, or pick up a book written by a person from an oppressed minority, or figure out where your time might make a difference in your local community. Maybe you’ll do something as simple as take a break.

Whatever you choose, know that this space between, this Ordinary Time, is a gift from God; a chance to steel yourself for the coming fight and prepare yourself to love more deeply. It’s anything but ordinary.

-Matt


In the links below, you’ll find a host of updates and news stories from around the movement, as well as next steps for your Ordinary Time.

Weekly Blog Roundup

Next Steps

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord!

- The UMCNextFL Team

Matt Dailey