On Sunday, May 22, we will move the sanctuary to the Activities Building, where we will worship during the summer, while repairs are being made to the ceiling of the Sanctuary Building. As we shift our place for worship, we will also shift our season of time. As the academic calendar comes to a close, our family calendars start to say “summer vacation” on them. In the summer, we keep time differently.
The Church’s Calendar also shifts our season of time, as we enter a season called “time after Pentecost.” It is what the Church has called “ordinary time.” We do not focus on a specific chapter of Jesus’ life, like his birth or his resurrection. We do not celebrate any particular milestone, like when the Magi finally arrived at Epiphany or the birth of the Church at Pentecost. Time after Pentecost is “ordinary time,” where we reflect on the general life of faith and the life of the church.
The parameters of time after Pentecost are much wider, which is fitting during the summer months, as we recover the meaning of “ordinary time.” When we focus on a specific holiday, we focus on what makes it unique, but the meaning of “ordinary time” is often times lost in the routine of life. We do well to reclaim the value of “ordinary time,” as our “getting away” during the summer coincides with time after Pentecost.
The practice of pilgrimage has always been integral to the journey of faith. There are many aspects of pilgrimage, which are varied and essential, but the foundation of this practice is “getting away.” When we are able to travel to another place, or simply down the street to the park, we can regain our perspective of “ordinary time.” We are then able to return to “ordinary time” with renewed eyes and energy.
As we enter time after Pentecost, we can practice pilgrimage. If we are able to “get away” for a few days, or just for an hour in the afternoon, we can return with fresh eyes and new vigor. We can rediscover the gifts of “ordinary time” and what happens during it.
Most of our lives happen during “ordinary time,” as does most of the Church’s Calendar. We value “getting away,” but not to the exclusion of “being here,” where most of life happens. Instead, time “away” and time “here” benefit each other. We find God in both, and both strengthens us. This summer, a different way of keeping time, and place, can help us foster our faith along the journey of life.