My soul finds rest in God alone;
my salvation comes from the Holy One. God alone is
my rock and mysalvation;God is my fortress, I will
never be shaken. ~Psalm 62:1-2
What an exciting time of the year!
School is out for the summer. Teachers can catch
their breath before they begin planning for the next
academic term. Students get to participate in
extracurricular activities like music camp, church
camp, and all the sports. Parents and grandparents,
perhaps they aren’t as excited since this means
finding babysitters or planning events to keep their
little ones busy. Gardens are bursting with life as
the extreme heat of summer moves in along with those
pesky, isolated thunderstorms. The air smells of
bar-b-cues and freshly cut grass. The neighborhoods
are coming alive, festival season commences, and
farmers come to the market with their early harvests
and are even preparing for the autumn harvesting
A different rhythm has started. Things look and feel
and smell and taste different. It all is good.
In the church, we start a new season. Well, not
really. We enter into a familiar season known as
“Ordinary Time.” The golds of Easter and the red of
Pentecost have been neatly folded and placed in
their hiding places until they reemerge for next
year’s lectionary cycle, Year C. Like the grass in
our yards, the paraments on the pulpit lectern, the
one draped on the altar (table ?), and the pastor’s
stole turn green. During the time of the year when
communities come alive with activity, for those of
us who follow the liturgical seasons, church may
seem… well… dull, bland, and very much ordinary.
Ordinary isn’t bad. Ordinary is good. In fact, I
think it is an invitation. It is an invitation for
us to continue the practices we have picked up thus
far and to explore further what we may need to let
go of to see God’s presence in our lives. It is a
season ripe for naming God’s presence in cookouts
and block parties when you’re knee-deep in the
garden or watching your kids run through the
sprinkler. This season on the other side of
Pentecost is also the perfect time to respond to the
Spirit’s prompting in your life to volunteer at the
food pantry, lead a lesson at Vacation Bible School,
or write that note you’ve been meaning to write your
dear friend who is having a hard time.
For me, I’m using the reentry into
“ordinary” time by revisiting my Epiphany word.
Y’all remember these we handed out at church, eh?
They were little starfish with words written on
them, and they were meant to inspire you to do
whatever word you received. Mine was “rest.”
Rest. So ordinary, right? Yet, my calendar is as
full now as it was in Advent and Lent. My little
Jeep Cherokee named Vic will traverse all over
central Illinois for appointments and visits. In the
coming weeks, I have meetings in Peoria and
Petersburg, Pleasant Plains and Middletown…and
beyond. If there was ever a time for me to stop and
reflect on my epiphany word, it is now.
When I am in a rush, I am easily distracted and not
often present with the people in my life. When I am
busy, I am not usually my best self. When I’m tired,
I’m quickly overwhelmed and am left buried beneath
despair and fatigue.
It’s as though the Spirit knew on Epiphany what my
spirit would need after Pentecost… in the
ordinariness of life. Welcome, summer. Welcome,
Ordinary Time. Welcome, rest.
God rested. We must, too.
What was your word? How might you ponder its meaning
in your life? How can you embrace God’s guiding
light in your life?
[Adam Quinn, pastor at First Presbyterian Church