4 February 2021

What is ‘Ordinary Time’ and why is it important?

Posted in Family Space / Parents & Carers / SU QLD

Well, it would seem we’re back into it for another year…

>  Christmas – Done…!

>  New Year’s – Done…!

>  Back to work… Done…!

>  Back to school… Done…!

And now it’s “2021 – Here we come, ready or not”…

In the Christian liturgical calendar, this time we’re in now is called Ordinary Time. It’s the in-between time between the celebrations of Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter. In this season, we step out of special times of celebration and commemoration and step into the business of living our everyday lives.

But don’t let the title fool you. Ordinary Time isn’t meant to highlight how mundane, tiresome or uninteresting everyday life is. Instead, it’s supposed to prompt us to appreciate how sacred our oft taken-for-granted daily schedules and movements actually are. Sounds good doesn’t it?

But let’s be honest… for a lot of the time, our ordinary time can feel pretty, well, ordinary – and we find ourselves looking to the next distraction or celebration to get us through.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to live in Ordinary Time in a more extraordinary way?

Recently, I came across an article called The Eucharistic Life. I was intrigued by the title but had no idea what it could possibly mean. I knew that “eucharist” was another name for communion or “The Lord’s Supper” as my tradition calls it, and I understood that this vital ceremony expressed a deep truth at the heart of the Christian faith. But I’d never heard the ceremony linked to a way of living in the world.

So, I looked into it…

Towards the end of Jesus’ life, he celebrated Passover with his disciples. You may have heard of this. It’s often referred to as “The Last Supper”. As part of this meal, Jesus took bread, gave thanks to God for it, broke it and shared it out (Matthew 26:26; Luke 22:19). This process of taking, giving thanks, breaking and sharing, when applied to our own lives, is a template for living a more extraordinary ‘Eucharistic Life’.

It looks something like this…

First, we take hold of our lives. We recognise that our lives are ours! That they are precious and worth grabbing onto with both hands. We need to own all the good and bad bits of our lives and take responsibility for what we can.

Secondly, we give thanks for our lives. Meister Eckhart said, “If the only prayer you said in your whole life was ‘thank you’, that would be sufficient.” When we understand each ordinary moment as a gift from God, our gratitude transforms those successive moments into a more extraordinary life.

Thirdly, we allow our lives to be broken. We need to accept, even embrace, that we haven’t got it all together and that’s okay. Some of our best life-learning will come from humble openness to this reality about ourselves. I love the Leonard Cohen song line, “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

Fourthly, we share our lives with others. Frederick Buechner said, “The place God calls us is where our deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” When we take hold of our lives, living them with a deep gratitude and humility, we position ourselves to make the difference in the world that only we can make.

Now that we’re back into it for 2021, let’s make the most of our Ordinary Time…


About the author…

Steve has over 30 years experience in school, community and church-based youth work. He is currently working as the Training & Development Manager at SU QLD, overseeing teams that deliver training and produce resources for SU QLD staff and volunteers. He holds post-graduate qualifications in Social Work, Politics & Government, and Christian Studies.

Samuel Moore

Digital Media and Communications Coordinator

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