The Rector’s Study: Ordinary Time

With the passing of Trinity Sunday, we come to that long middle section of the liturgical calendar. It is called either the “Season after Pentecost,” or “Ordinary Time.” To my mind, Ordinary Time is a little like saying “bland cookie.” I’m sure bland cookies exist, but it’s not a phrase that has any real meaning.

The word ´ordinary” is not used here to mean “normal,” whatever that is. However, it comes from “ordinal” or “numbered.” These next many weeks are numbered, such as the 2nd Sunday after Pentecost, and so forth.

The Memorial Garden in summer green

Between the name and the color that marks Ordinary Time, green, it’s easy to get lulled into thinking that this is the easy season, where things slow down until All Saints and Advent roll back around. I think that does Ordinary Time a disservice.

Leonel L. Mitchell (1930-2012), Episcopal priest and professor of liturgy said, “These Sundays, sometimes called ‘Green Sundays,’ are not simply filler or ‘ordinary time.’ They are an integral part of the year. The Season after Pentecost continues the Paschal cycle from the commemoration of the first Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came upon the Apostles, to the celebration of the final Advent or ’Second Coming,’ when Christ will come in glory.”[1]

Ordinary Time is green because it is the season where we work on growth. We have spent months recounting the story of God’s saving work in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. Now it is time to see the Good News take root in our community, both inside our walls and outside our walls.

Flowers in the Memorial Garden

I went to wedding recently and was given a few packets of flower seeds. On the back they had the instructions: plant so deep, so many inches apart, flowers bloom in so many weeks. Ordinary Time is like that. The seeds are planted. Now, we work as the weeks tick by, weeding and watering, waiting for God to give the growth. [2]

Church of the Redeemer

Community life at Redeemer centers on worship in the Episcopal tradition. Art and music vitally deepen this worship. Our faith expresses itself with service to people, locally to internationally.

Church of the Redeemer is at 6210 181st Street in Kenmore, Washington. We are a short distance north of Bothell Way, near the Burke-Gilman Trail. The entrance looks like a gravel driveway. The campus is larger on the inside than it is on the outside.

The Episcopal Church welcomes you.


[1] Mitchell, Leonel L., Praying Shapes Believing, pg. 30.

[2] 1 Corinthians 3:6

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