Seasonal Reflection:  Ordinary Time, Winter, 2018

Reflecting on Peace

“Time flies,” so the saying goes, and it is certainly flying by this liturgical year! It began with the shortest Advent possible. Oh, yes, we had four Sundays, but we did not have four weeks. As you know, the Fourth Sunday of Advent was Christmas Eve. No fourth week of Advent or even a few days between Sunday and Christmas. Then the Christmas season was shortened. It didn’t just feel that way; it really was. Normally, the Christmas season ends with the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus, and that it did this year like every other, but, usually the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus is a full week after the Feast of the Epiphany, Sunday to Sunday. Not this year! This year the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus was the very next day after the Feast of the Epiphany, Sunday to Monday. Why? From what I understand, because the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus never goes beyond January 13th. The Sunday after the Feast of the Epiphany this year? January 14th, so no waiting a full week to go from infant Jesus to 30 year old Jesus. Talk about time flying! And now we enter that reprieve between all the big feasts, Ordinary Time, between Christmas and Lent. When Lent is later in the year, Ordinary Time lasts a while, but, once again, not this year! Lent starts on February 14th, yes, Valentine’s Day, so Ordinary Time is barely five weeks long. If your head is spinning from this year’s race from Advent to Lent, you’re not crazy and you’re not alone. We might even say there’s nothing ordinary about this winter’s Ordinary Time.

But what does all this mean in the bigger scheme of things? Frankly, I’m not sure, but we can all reflect on the possibilities. It could mean that we need to be quick, with the state of the world, and our country in particular, to heed God’s call to conversion, to peacemaking and justice seeking. It could be a message to us not to tarry in our service to the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the sick or disabled, the refugee or native outcast, people of color or of a different faith, to creation itself. It could be incentive to stay alert and on our toes to the threat of nuclear war and the opportunity to bring the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons to ratification. It could be an invitation to join St. Paul in saying, “I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.”

The fact is, once we start Lent, everything goes back to normal. There will still be 40 days of Lent, and Easter will follow with 40 days to Ascension Thursday and another 10 days to Pentecost, and the Feasts of the Holy Trinity and the Body and Blood of Christ will follow on their respective Sundays before we return to Ordinary Time. It’s just right now that we may need to hold off in trying to catch our breath.




O God of timelessness and time,
Thank you for those things that are possible and precious.

Thank you:

for justice which repairs the devastations of poverty;

for liberty which extends to the captives of violence;

for healing which binds up the broken bodied and broken hearted;

for bread broken for all the hungry of the earth;

for good news of love which is stronger than death;

and for peace so that no one is afraid.

Thank you for the undeniable awareness that we need you
and that your presence is always with us, setting us free, for others, for joy, and for you;

Thank you for your grace, our lives, forever.


(adapted by PCUSA from “I Thank You for Those Things that Are Yet Possible,” by Ted Loder in Guerrillas of Grace)

Suggested Actions

  • - Use this brief period of “Ordinary Time” to focus on what you can do free of Christmas rituals and Lenten sacrifices to serve at least one cause to which you are dedicated, whether feeding the hungry, visiting the sick, caring for the environment, advocating for legislation that promotes peace and prevents war, or anything else that will cultivate the common good.

    - Also use this brief period of “Ordinary Time” to care for yourself. When we have a race to run, we need nutritious food and drink, exercise, and rest. Be sure to include these in your daily regimen, along with spiritual nourishment.

    - Stay on top of things through PCMNY’s e-mail action alert network, website, Facebook page, Twitter account, and activities.

Reflection Archives

2017:  Christmas  Advent
   Summer   Easter   Lent   Ordinary Time     2016:  Christmas   Advent   Fall   Summer   Easter   Lent   


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