Minister’s Letter - June 2013
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
We have entered the period of the Christian year called ‘Ordinary Time’, which stretches from Pentecost to ‘The Kingdom Season’, which starts on the first Sunday of November.
We often live our lives according to the year’s highlights, birthdays and Christmas, Easter and Pentecost, long planned holidays, so much so that we ignore ordinary time, in fact we spend much of our time looking forward to the next special event. Even our spiritual lives can depend on regular ‘mountain top experiences’, but much of our life is ‘ordinary time’.
Spending our lives looking forward to future events we can miss God in ordinary time, in the here and now. Brother Lawrence, a monk in the 17th century, wrote in his maxims,
‘Men invent means and methods of coming at God’s love, they learn rules and set up devices to remind them of that love, and it seems like a world of trouble to bring oneself into the consciousness of God’s presence. Yet it might be so simple. Is it not quicker and easier just to do our common business wholly for love of him?’
To do each of our tasks for the love of God can bring us closer to awareness of God’s presence in the ordinary things of life. Ordinary time becomes the place of revelation of God’s presence, for he takes the ordinary and turns it into the extraordinary.
It is good to look forward, to have things to plan for and to get excited about but we cannot live on a diet of future feast, we need to get regular ordinary sustenance both for our physical and spiritual health.
John Wesley referred to these ‘ordinary’ means of meeting with God as ‘means of grace’, those things that we need to keep doing regularly to maintain a healthy spiritual life and so be prepared for spiritual highs.
What ordinary things keep your spiritual life on track? Perhaps it is regular prayer times, or a house group, or Sunday worship, or something else, of course these are not mutually exclusive! You may like to also plan a spiritual high-spot, something for you to look forward to, a conference, study day or retreat. We need the ordinary diet but we also need to build in feasts and parties!
Your brother in Christ,