Monday, June 10, 2013

Playdates with God: Ordinary

Summer comes in wearing her golds and blues and sweeps us away in swaying grasses. We sit out back in the fading light and watch the fireflies wink. The days have been quick-disappearing and the only way to catch our breath is this sitting together—this quiet vigil we keep.

I close my eyes and listen to the crickets; lean my head back and let the cool of night settle on my skin. We talk about the way things have turned out different than we planned, about the hardness of that. But then, he touches my hand.

Time doesn’t wait—it is a rubbery thing. And this is one way to slow its constant spinning.

Be together.

Yesterday, in church, we talked about the widow of Nain. How Jesus gave her back her son. And in doing so, how he gave her back her life. We talked about resurrection moments—those pockets of restoration in our world today.

Here we are, ten weeks after Easter, still fresh-stepping into what the church calls ordinary time and our Bible story reminds us that we should still be thinking—that we should always be thinking—resurrection. But we are more comfortable with the ordinary, the everyday stuff. We have our lists to do. And resurrection certainly doesn’t make the list. We concern ourselves with the stuff of life. The Ordinary. And if I am not careful, that word ordinary can trip me up—give me excuse to assign little value to these passing moments.

But here the church gives me a good model of how to view time. The liturgical year is divided into the seasons of Lent/Easter, Advent/Christmas, and Ordinary Time. In this case the term "ordinary" does not mean "usual or average." We get the term from the Latin word ordinalis, which means to be numbered in series. Therefore, Ordinary Time is called "ordinary" simply because the weeks are numbered.

But here’s the thing: in Ordinary Time, we are not focused on a specific aspect of Christ (such as the Nativity or the Passion). Instead, we celebrate the mystery of Christ as a whole—his life, ministry, miracles, and teachings. These days are no less holy, no less important for this lack—rather, they remind us to view all of life through the lens of holy. When God took on flesh and became one of us, didn’t he elevate the dignity of human nature for us all? Did he not infuse resurrection into the ordinary moments? Elevating the passing of time to something holy? When we number the days—when we count the moments, the moments count, don’t they? By simply paying attention our awareness of the holy in each moment is heightened.

When I live in the context of the holy-ordinary, time takes a deep breath…slows her pace.

He touches my hand. And eternity presses down on that one moment.

Resurrection. In that instant there is new life.

I’ve adapted this from an article that originally appeared at The High Calling earlier this year. Have you been over there? It’s a neat place. Today Glynn Young is writing for our book club discussion on Chip and Dan Heath’s book Decisive. Join us? You might want to join the network while you're over there.

How do you embrace the God-joy? Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us:
The Playdates button:
Sharing with Michelle today too:


Lisa notes... said...

The ordinary days are no less holy...that's what I'm hearing you say, and needing to hear you say today, Laura. Thanks for sharing because I didn't know about the Latin word ordinalis. Sometimes those little pieces of knowledge can make big differences.

Sheila Seiler Lagrand said...

This could be my new habit: to seek eternity pressing down on *every* moment. Thank you for this, Laura.

Thank you.

bluecottonmemory said...

Learning to understand and live God ordinary not man ordinary - beautiful glimpse,Laura!

Becky Kopitzke said...

This is beautiful, Laura. What a refreshing and meaningful way to look at my ordinary daily life. Thank you!

Beth Steffaniak said...

Thoughtful words, as always, Laura. Much needed and appreciated, sweet friend!

Alicia Bruxvoort said...

I need a daily reminder to let Jesus breathe NEW LIFE into my "same old" ordinary routine. Thanks for the eloquent words that call me back to the empty tomb this morning.

kingfisher said...

"When God took on flesh and became one of us, didn’t
he elevate the dignity of human nature for us all? Did he not infuse
resurrection into the ordinary moments? Elevating the passing of time to something

Yes. Just this! I wish I could grasp this and hold on to it and not keep forgetting how he can resurrect our moments and passing of time. In making the moments -- and all of me -- he makes me holy? Halleluliah!

Love ya!

Linda Stoll said...

Yes, dear Laura, we need the slower pace, the deeper breaths, the clearer lenses of the holy-ordinary ... maybe now more than ever?

Janis Van Keuren said...

The holy ordinary is a beautiful way to look at everyday life as a gift to be treasured rather than spent recklessly without thought. I hope I will look more for resurrection moments in my daily life and not just number my days but slow time down to breathe in the newness of the moment.
Thank you, Laura.

Mia said...

Dear Laura
This is what makes our Lord so incredible! Every moment we live in Him in His presence and every time your heart touches His, is a holy moment ... a burning bush aflame with His glory!
Much love XX

OutnumberedMom said...

Interesting. The ordinary is anything BUT ordinary. We lull ourselves into thinking it is, but no...
Love that dogwood, by the way.

Being Woven said...

The dogwood reminds me of the Cross which leads to resurrection which leads to these holy ordinary times with Jesus. All moments should be with Jesus and you have reminded me of that in such a beautiful way, Laura. I am blessed by coming here this day. Caring through Christ, ~ linda

n davis rosback said...

and there is new life...

David Rupert said...

I like the idea of the ordinary and this is a fantastic reminder. In our culture we are drawn to the splashy, the showy, the neon light-show of the extraordinary. But Mustard Seed Faith is everything but that.

Laurie Collett said...

May we find His holiness in every day and every "ordinary" moment. Thanks for the great post & for hosting & God bless.

Jennifer Camp said...

Holy-ordinary. . . Yes, I am soaking this up today. . . I want Him to press in and slow an everyday moment and make me see its holy. Thank you for the beauty you offer here, Laura.

Nancy Franson said...

Resurrection in the ordinary--I'm counting on this.

Jean Wise said...

so many great lessons and blessings in the ordinary. thank you for explaining what that word really means in the church season. I think we are calling it more the X Sunday after Pentecost now. but still counting.

Michelle DeRusha said...

Thank you for breathing new life into the concept of Ordinary Time, Laura. Nothing is really ordinary, is it? It's all extraordinary, if you really think about it. xxoo

tinuviel said...

I didn't know that about the word ordinary and why Ordinary Time is so called. Thanks for that insight. Those little moments of closeness are truly precious, aren't they? Let's treasure them today.

Grace and peace to you in Christ Jesus, friend.

soulstops said...

Thanks for introducing me to Ordinary Time as our church doesn't follow a liturgical calendar...I love how the seeming ordinary is holy because of His presence with us each & hugs, Laura :)

Lyli Dunbar said...

"the holy-ordinary" -- what an interesting phrase! My former boss loved to say that every moment is sacred.. that there really was no such thing as "secular."

This weekend, one of the pastors from our church mentioned that an elder had Leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant. He invited folks to meet after the service if they were interested in signing up to be a donor in hopes of finding a match and saving this man's life. -- One thousand people showed up and agreed to swipe a cotton swab in their mouth to be tested.

Tonight, my pastor again invited the congregation to participate, and he talked about how the whole procedure would take 40 minutes if you were indeed a match. 40 minutes and 4 small incisions in your pelvic region. That's all you have to do to help bring resurrection to a family and bring a dad home to his wife and son.