Well, it's unofficially summer. Memorial Day is over, school's out or almost out. It's hot. And the cicadas are here.
It's also a new season in the church year. We're entering the Season after Pentecost, also known as "Ordinary Time." There are two periods of Ordinary time: the first begins after Epiphany and ends Ash Wednesday, and the second -- the one we're in now --begins after Pentecost and ends in Advent. These Ordinary times are separate from the "strong seasons" of Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter.
Ordinary in this case doesn't mean plain or common, but comes from the word ordinal, meaning "numbered." In Ordinary Time, Sundays are on a numbering system. For example, Sunday June 10th is "Proper 5" this year, and June 17th is "Proper 6." This system helps keep track of which Scriptures and prayers we read when.
There is something ordinary -- in a good way -- about these quieter parts of the church year. We've been blitzing through feast days and festivals, starting in Advent and working our way up to Easter and Pentecost. Lots of high points. They're important. But just as in our secular lives we need some "down time," we need a little ordinary time in our spiritual lives. To reflect on where we've come from and where we're going.
In this part of the world, church life often takes a breather in the summer. Sure, Sunday services continue, there's Vacation Bible School, church camp, maybe a mission trip. But the pace does usually slow. People are away on vacation, committees don't meet as often. Churches chill.
Things certainly aren't grinding to a halt here at Reconciler, but we are mellowing out a bit this summer, after doing a lot of good work together. We're going to socialize (spiritually) at each other's houses. One evening we'll read the Book of James together and share a meal. Other evenings, we'll watch some movies with theological content and discuss them over potluck. Some of us are attending the Jubilee conference. Others are being a presence at neighborhood festivals. We'll have a Sunday of shared worship with Immanuel Lutheran. We're doing stuff. But in a lower key. And that's all right.
In 1937, the World Council of Churches suggested that churches observe a period called "Kingdomtide" in what's now the Season after Pentecost, this season we call Ordinary Time. That didn't "take" with most of the Churches, except the Methodists and a few others, who began to observe Kingdomtide between August and Advent. Kingdomtide focuses on peace and justice issues, particularly assisting the poor, whereas the first part of the Season after Pentecost (May to August) focuses more on inner spirituality.
I think that's a good vision for us to uphold this summer -- and beyond -- as a Church: this twin focus on spirituality and social justice. Taking time to reflect on our actions, and act on our reflections. If we do that well, Ordinary Time can in its own quiet way be an extraordinary time.
In God's peace,
The Reverend Laura Gottardi-Littell
for The Pastoral Team
The Church of Jesus Christ, Reconciler
Jubilee USA's Annual 2007 Grassroots Conference... Come to Jubilee USA's annual 2007 grassroots conference June 15-17 to find out more about about Sabbath Economics, the international debt crisis, economic justice, and globalization. $35 early bird registration includes Saturday and Sunday lunch and breakfast. See Jeremy for more details.
The Worship Committee met and came to some agreements regarding which versions of the Lord's Prayer we want to use, and how to proceed with getting a processional cross and Eucharistic vessels. The Worship Committee will forward these recommendations to the Reconciler Council. We also had a helpful discussion on inclusive language.
Summer events to put on your calendar:
1) Potluck Supper and Reading of the book of James at Charity and Jeremy’s house TBA. This is sponsored by the Social Action Committee.
2) 'Nidge North (AKA Tripp and Trish's house) Potlucks and Movie nights TBA
3) Shared Worship with Immanuel Lutheran Church -- Sunday morning 10:30 August 5. No worship service at Reconciler that evening. Come worship with us Sunday morning, as we seek to deepen our connection to the Immanuel and St. Elias congregations, on our common "Campus of Discipleship."
4) Summer Neighborhood Festivals:
Reconciler has decided to have a booth at two summer festivals this year. We will need members of Reconciler to commit to help staff these booths at intervals over the weekends of the festivals. The festivals and their dates are:
Celebrate Clark Street July 14 & 15
Glenwood Arts Festival August 25 and 26th
Our focus at the Glenwood Arts Festival will be Larry’s iconography and any of our artists in the congregation who might want to display their work.