Monday. Even though I like my current job and loved teaching when I was in the classroom, I’ve never felt thrilled when the alarm sounds on a Monday morning, heralding the beginning of the work week. Today was particularly difficult for me. The air damp and gray, I began the day with sleet that delayed the work day for many in the D.C. area. I reset the alarm and slept for an extra hour, so I tried to be grateful, thanking God in my morning quiet time for the extended sleep and the much-needed rain.
But it was still Monday when I backed my car out of the garage—a garage for which I was grateful on such a cold and dreary morning. It was still Monday when I got to the school where I was helping out a group of teachers. I thanked God for getting me through the 40-minute commute safely. But then I felt sorry for myself when I walked through the exuberant teenagers in the halls, who made me miss teaching as they do every time I visit a school. But then I remembered that having a job where I don’t have to grade essays every weekend has given me time to write a book and create this web site and blog.
If you haven’t noticed by now, I spent the morning bouncing back and forth between feeling blue and giving myself a pep talk about how great my life is. I suspect a lot of us do this. We know that we live in the wealthiest country in the world, a country that has less than 5% of the world’s population but almost 40% of the world’s wealth.
But it’s still Monday even after we give ourselves a pep talk. And yesterday at my church, the bulletin proclaimed it as the Third Sunday in Ordinary Time. Simply put, ordinary time is that time in the church calendar that has nothing to do with the Big Two—Christmas and Easter.
So here we are, on just another ordinary Monday. The babe has been born, the tree has gone out in the recycling, and the stories of my faith have turned to Christ’s ministry in the world. Today’s readings were anything but ordinary. The psalms spoke of finding refuge in the shadow of God’s wings, a God who is “gracious and merciful…slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” And the Gospel reading from Mark, Chapter 5 told stories of Jesus’ kindness to two very different people—a woman who is convinced she’ll be healed if she can just touch Jesus’ clothing and a little girl whose father, a synagogue leader, shows no such certainty but whose prayer for his daughter’s life is answered just the same.
And so I made it through an ordinary Monday, reminded that no day is ordinary for any of us—whether we’re Christian or Jew, Buddhist or Muslim, believer or atheist—when we can reach outside ourselves, touch what we believe in, and find resurrection in our faith. For it is in staying in touch with what’s within and reaching out to connect with the world that we can know that nothing in this spectacular world is ever truly ordinary.
So tell me your stories of Ordinary Time.