the gift of ordinary time

Like the moon orders the tides, the horizon draws seekers to the shore’s edge each evening at sunset. The pull is magnetic and almost liturgical in its rhythm. From our vacation perch atop this tree-lined street, we watch the pilgrims flock. Neighbors appear on porches, cradling drinks, eyes trained westward. Kids abandon bikes where the sidewalk ends. Spilling out of cars and homes and on foot, they head for the sea, casting off shoes in the dunes. Where sand and sky kiss surf is holy ground. We pause together, bearing witness to the beauty which descends like clockwork and grace.
The sun is a dazzling ball of pink, with clouds aflame in orange and regal purple. Times Square’s yearly ritual has nothing on this globe’s daily descent into the Delaware Bay at dusk. Its regularity can’t diminish its magnificence, and I’m struck by how infrequently I honor this pause. The sun sets, of course, each night at home, but I barely realize it most nights in the shuffle of putting the kids to bed or getting dinner on the table.
My spirit awakens to the weekly rhythms of worship, prayer, and sacrament. I welcome the turn of the seasons in creation, church, and culture alike. Summer peaches. Back-to-school shoes. Fall festivals. Advent waiting. Christmas feasting. New Year promise. Winter quiet. Lenten fasts. Spring crocuses. Easter hope. Pentecost revival. Ordinary Time.
It’s the daily rituals my heart is missing lately, the ordinary ones, like stopping it all to watch the sun paint the sky amethyst and tangerine. A summer of travel and camp ministry has left me a bit adrift, and I’m longing for the anchor and stability of quotidian rhythms. A cup of coffee savored. Laundry folded and put away. Meals shared. Compline and kisses goodnight. Less hurry and distraction and more awareness of thin places.
“Every day, this One offers gifts–life, light, and hours in which to work and eat and love and rest–and invites humankind to join in the ongoing work of caring for creation and all who dwell therein. The same One also continues, each day, the work of new creation: the work of forgiving and reconciling and restoring wholeness. This too we are invited to enter, both as ones who stand in need of this divine work and as partners in it.
The Christian practice of receiving the day calls us to remember these truths with frequency and regularity. Forgetting them is costly. […] The practice of receiving the day is the cluster of activities that enable Christians to offer attention, daily, to the gracious presence and activity of God.”
Confident of mercies new each morning, we’ll pilgrimage together, hearts expectant of quiet beauty, deep need, and great grace.
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