One of the joys of the Anglican tradition is the changing of the liturgical seasons. These seasons don’t follow the regular calendar of Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter, but follow the High Days and Holy Days of the church’s year. Some of these seasons are more obvious than others. Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, Lent and Easter are easier to identify through music, scripture and even decoration.
There are two periods of the liturgical year that stitch together the Christmas and Easter seasons, referred to as the Season after Epiphany and the Season after Pentecost.
The Season after Pentecost lasts from the Monday after Pentecost Sunday until the Saturday before the First Sunday of Advent. The first Sunday of this season is Trinity Sunday, and the last Sunday is Christ the King Sunday.
The Season after Pentecost is also known as “Ordinary Time.” And, if you’re like me, you might hear “ordinary time” as “boring time.” But that’s not the case!
The word “ordinary” most likely means “numbered” here (think ordinal numbers), because the Sundays of Ordinary Time are numbered. If you look at our Bulletin, the Sundays can be described as the Nth Sunday after Trinity, or the Nth Sunday after Pentecost of Proper N.
During this “Ordinary time”, we focus on the life of the Church as it grows in the midst of the world. One of the many descriptions of this time is learning to live the faith in our “Ordinary lives.” Just like the church’s year, our lives ebb and flow through the highs and lows and ordinary times and sometimes we need the quiet times to help us reflect more deeply on the foundations of our faith.
At St. Clement's, we are currently using the occasion to simplify our worship a little - over the summer months, for example, you may notice more of the service being "said," rather than sung.
Part of this is for practical reasons; combining the congregations from different worshipping communities means some of our sung material is not as familiar to others and saying things can help us be more collegial.
It also helps us reflect on just the text; revisiting the core texts of our traditions without having to sing means we pray them in a different way.
The liturgical colour of ordinary time is green, and as you may have noticed we are now using the beautifully sewn ordinary time altar hangings crafted by Joanne Graham. Green symbolizes new life and hope, and the quieter pace of this season invites us to nourish the spirituality of our everyday lives and to rekindle our attentiveness to prayer, learning, and acts of compassion. Perhaps now is a good time to visit the library in our Parish Hall, and check out some summertime reading!
Rest assured as the church year evolves we will be trying new music and practices so as to keep our language and liturgy fresh and seasonal, while being faithful to the beauty of Anglican tradition.
Philippa and Peggy