This next season in the Christian calendar is when we allow the extraordinary to become ordinary and the ordinary to become extraordinary.
By Cara Garrity, Development Coordinator
During the first half of the liturgical year, we focus on the story of Jesus Christ. Through Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Easter Preparation, Easter, and Pentecost we bear witness to Christ in anticipation, incarnation, revelation, death, resurrection, and ascension. Then we enter the season of Ordinary Time, when we respond to what we have seen and heard in the story of Christ by joining Jesus in his mission to make disciples and build his church.
What does it look like to participate with Jesus in his mission to make disciples and build his church? I believe we can learn from testimony of the birth and early growth of the church in the book of Acts. In a sense, it gives an account of the first “ordinary time” as the new church responds to the reality of Jesus. While the entire book of Acts is rich with disciples participating in Jesus’ mission, I want to focus on the compelling description we find in Acts 2:
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47)
The newly born church responded to the reality of Jesus with whole-life discipleship: teaching, fellowship, awe, generosity, self-sacrifice, provision, public worship and witness, hospitality, and inclusion. By the power of the Spirit, they grew as disciple-making disciples in fellowship with one another. The everyday moments of their lives were transformed by Jesus and reoriented around participation in his mission. This is both an inspiring and challenging expression of what it means to participate with Jesus in his mission. Ordinary Time urges modern disciples to respond to the reality of Jesus with such devotion.
I like to think of Ordinary Time as the season when we allow the extraordinary to become ordinary and the ordinary to become extraordinary because of who Jesus is. The extraordinary reality of Christ becomes the new ordinary as it is embodied by his church and the ordinariness of humanity becomes extraordinary as we are transformed in Christ.
The book of Acts is full of accounts of ordinary people seeing God do extraordinary things as they join Jesus in mission. The worship calendar reminds us that Jesus is still building his church and drawing ordinary people into participation in his extraordinary mission. It reminds us to respond to the story of our extraordinary Jesus by surrendering every ordinary moment to him. Ordinary Time invites us to take seriously the reality that Jesus calls us to a life that is anything but ordinary.
My prayer this Ordinary Time is that we would allow Jesus to draw us into deeper participation in his mission; that we would respond to the extraordinary reality of Jesus with whole-life discipleship that transforms every ordinary moment. Consider adopting both personal and corporate practices that can nurture a posture of joining Jesus in mission during this Ordinary Time.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Join, launch, or host a connect group (visit resources.gci.org for connect group resources)
- Create opportunities for fellowship within your local church
- Join Jesus’ mission in the neighborhood together as a church: host a neighborhood event, attend a neighborhood event, invite a neighbor for dinner, volunteer in the neighborhood
- Prayerfully discern an area of discipleship that God is calling attention to
- Mentor or find a mentor in your local church