Once the days of January start to accumulate and the memories of the holidays begin to wane, we find ourselves in the midst of days that are routine and predictable. Our attention is drawn back to staff meetings, doctor appointments, project deadlines, and making it to Friday each week, as we walk along the flat ground of everyday living. We start to thumb through the movie listings from time to time, feeling the slower pace of what is routine.[pullquote_right width=”53%”]In the midst of paying attention to meetings and regular appointments on the calendar, we can also pay attention to the sacred quality of life, as we find God with us in each and every moment.[/pullquote_right]
This is rather fitting as we keep time with the Church Year, entering into what we call time after Epiphany. In other traditions within the Church, it is also called Ordinary Time. We feel the slower pace of ordinary time, which is like driving for a hundred miles on flat, open terrain. There are not many rest stops or even breathtaking scenes that catch our eyes along the way. But this does not mean there is not more to see.
In the midst of paying attention to meetings and regular appointments on the calendar, we can also pay attention to the sacred quality of life, as we find God with us in each and every moment. Our routine can give us a chance to free our thoughts, so we can pay attention to more that is happening around us. We can be more mindful of people’s needs and opportunities to serve or to discover what is holy.
When Moses discovered the burning bush, he was simply tending to the sheep. It was a routine task, but it was transformed by discovering the presence of God. We can embrace Ordinary Time, or time after Epiphany, as an opportunity to see more than we normally see. We can look for glimmers of the light of grace or for shadows of darkness in need of grace. We can also feel the warmth of the light of grace that is always before us within the routines of each week.
As we think about the life of the church, we can give thanks for the good work that takes place each week in the routine schedule of the congregation. We can give thanks for the Sunday School teacher, preparing her lesson on Saturday for the conversation that will take place on Sunday. We can give thanks for the committees meeting and planning the various ministries of the church. We can give thanks for the routine of worship, giving us a chance each week to pause and to pay attention together.
The ordinary does not always seem exciting, but it harbors the presence of God in our midst. We can embrace what is routine as holy time, remembering that each day is sacred. We continue to work and to play, to serve and to enjoy the life of the church and the lives we have been given.