It’s hard to believe that we have only six more weeks of “ordinary time” before the church year starts anew with the first Sunday of Advent on December 1. It doesn’t seem like too long ago that I was celebrating Pentecost, which sort of kicks off ordinary time in our liturgical year. At that time my family was on the North Carolina coast, and we were eagerly preparing for our move to Charlotte and beginning to feel connected to the people of St. Peter’s.
A group of about ten of us just completed a four-week series as part of our Adult Formation programming. We gathered to talk about the challenges of the ever-elusive quest for “work–life balance,” which has everything to do with ordinary time. Although we didn’t discover a panacea for resolving the stresses of daily life or the perfect compromise for the competing demands on our time, we did find support in encouraging one another to be more mindful of how we shape our days—taking some time for God and for ourselves each day so that we can be more fully present for children, neighbors, friends, colleagues, and those in need.
We also reflected a bit on our theologies of time. I suggested three Christian assumptions about time for the group to “chew on”: that time is a gift, not a possession; that we encounter God in time, not beyond it; and that time as we know it is limited. I offer these assumptions for you, too, to contemplate, as together we soak up these final weeks of ordinary time and seek each day to live in the fullness of God’s dream for our lives as individuals and as the People of God gathered at the corner of Seventh and Tryon streets.
I wish you many blessings as you enjoy the limited, precious gift of time and pray that you will encounter God in small and surprising ways as you go through your “ordinary” days.
The Reverend Deacon Joslyn Ogden Schaefer, Associate Rector