Ordinary Thoughts in Ordinary Time

Summer marks the long stretch of the Sundays after Pentecost that are sometimes called “Ordinary Time.” This doesn’t mean ordinary as in run of the mill. In this case ordinary, is used in the sense of counting or numbering, as we do with the weeks after Pentecost until Advent. In this season, we have already heard again the story of the Incarnation, Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus told through the Church year. Now we turn to the business of living as a people for whom that story has made all the difference in the world. It is, I believe, a matter of living an extraordinary life in ordinary ways, of doing “small things with great love,” as one quotation attributed to Mother Teresa says. 

In addition, it is a time for focusing of the gift of the Eucharist, the weekly practice that brings the presence of Christ as close as possible to us, and then sends us out into the world to share that presence with others.  I wanted to share with you a beautiful poem by the English priest and poet Malcolm Guite entitled This Table. It reminds me so much of the table I have the honor to stand behind at Trinity Church, and of the community that gathers around it each week:

The centuries have settled on this table
Deepened the grain beneath a clean white cloth
Which bears afresh our changing elements.
Year after year of prayer, in hope and trouble,
Were poured out here and blessed and broken, both
In aching absence and in absent presence. 

This table too the earth herself has given
And human hands have made. Where candle-flame
At corners burns and turns the air to light
The oak once held its branches up to heaven,
Blessing the elements which it became,
Rooting the dew and rain, branching the light.

Because another tree can bear, unbearable,
For us, the weight of Love, so can this table.

However, beyond participating in the weekly practice of the Eucharist, there are other ways to do “small things with great love.” In particular, I would like to encourage each of you to discern how God may be calling you to serve in specific ministries at Trinity Church in the coming year.  I guarantee that they will be rewarding to you spiritually, as well as an essential help to the parish. At the start of the fall, on September 8, we will have our traditional ministry fair, where you can learn more about our lay ministries from acolytes to altar guild to outreach. If you are not currently involved in any of these ministries, please pray about making it a part of your life at Trinity Church. In the end, it isn’t about what the church needs you to give, it’s about what you can receive as a gift through loving and serving both God and our neighbors. 

Yours faithfully in Christ,

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The Rev. Dr. Kara N. Slade
Associate Rector for Operations & Discipleship

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