What a fantastic summer this has been with the Jubilee, the football, the Olympics but they have now passed. A heartfelt comment from a friend was that perhaps now the television can get back to normal. Well we are now officially ‘normal’. It’s also what the modern Prayer Book calls ‘Ordinary Time’ - that means the bits in between all the great feast days and penitential seasons and so on. At the moment it‘s the seemingly endless ‘Sundays after Trinity‘.

‘Ordinary’ is such a lovely word, the root of which is that reassuring word ‘order’, and it encompasses ideas like orderliness, well-ordered, in order. It’s opposite is strange, unusual, distinctive: extraordinary.

One of the odd things about human behaviour is that most of us most of the time don’t want to look strange, unusual or even distinctive. Just look at the way many dress, following fashion, many deliberately try to look like those around them. Think of the teenage uniform, male or female. Their aim is to look exactly like their peers. Or think of guests at a wedding, especially the males, all looking exactly alike in bow ties and tails. Mind you, at times - maybe at a party - some may go to the other extremes and try to be as different and distinctive as possible.

Where the Gospels are concerned, our tendency is to remember the extraordinary bits, water turned into wine, storms stilled, lame people dancing and blind people seeing. Yet they are only extraordinary because their context is so utterly ordinary, women preparing meals, men sowing crops, feet being washed and food being eaten. The whole setting is so ordinary that the amazing acts of power that Jesus did stand out like beacons. But he happened, and this is important, in the ordinary world, to ordinary people, in the ordinary circumstances of life.

In ‘Ordinary Time’, when nothing special is happening, we have space and time to reflect on some of the wonderfully ‘ordinary’ events that have taken place in our lives, touches, I suggest, of the love and grace of God. I’m thinking of ordinary acts of kindness, generous words, quietly spoken prayers, memories too precious ever to fade away. I’m thinking of the ‘ordinary’ love of one human being for another, the ‘ordinary’ hand on the shoulder in time of need, the ‘ordinary’ serenity of a life well lived.

Or, perhaps we could argue that they are all extraordinary too.

Peace to you all.

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