The Church’s year is roughly split up into two halves, the Festival Season and Ordinary Time. As it happens, depending on the date of Easter, most of the Church’s Festivals and the seasons which surround them fall neatly into one half of the year, from December through to May. (Christmas – Epiphany – Lent – Eastertide – Ascension – Pentecost – Trinity).
So now we enter the less eventful period from June to November, ‘Ordinary Time’, stretching through to the 18th Sunday after Trinity and beyond. Just occasionally a Feast Day happens to fall on a Sunday, bringing a bit of colour, and that gives each year part of its distinctive character in the church. This year there are four: Peter the Apostle (29 June); Bartholomew the Apostle (24 August); Holy Cross Day, (14 September); Matthew, Apostle & Evangelist (21 September).
Ordinary Time is a chance for us to remind ourselves that God isn’t always found in the spectacular, the remarkable, the thrilling. It’s in our everyday lives that we need to recognise Him. There’s no better start than finding a way for prayer to become part of our everyday life, not just something we do in church.
One of the best-known references to Ordinary Time in literature is in George Herbert’s great and inspiring 1633 Sonnet, ‘Prayer':
Prayer the Church’s banquet, Angels’ age,God’s breath in man returning to his birth,The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage,The Christian plummet sounding heav’n and earth;Engine against th’ Almighty, sinners’ tower,Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,The six-days-world transposing in an hour,A kind of tune, which all things hear and fear;Softness, and peace, and joy, and love, and bliss,Exalted Manna, gladness of the best,Heaven in ordinary, man well dressed,The milky way, the bird of Paradise,Church-bells beyond the stars heard, the soul’s blood,The land of spices; something understood.
Finally, June is a very special time for Carys and me as she is going to be ordained priest at St Mary Abbots Kensington on Sunday 22 June at 3 pm. Many of you who’ve joined St Philip’s in the last four years won’t know Carys as she joined another church when she started training. But you are all most welcome to come along on 22 June. Carys is just approaching the end of her first year as curate at St Luke’s and Christ Church, Chelsea.