According to the Christian Calendar, we find ourselves in Ordinary Time. Now, "Ordinary" doesn't just mean "every day," "not special, "not extraordinary"--although it indeed marks an absence of high Holy Days of Advent, Epiphany, Lent, Pentecost, etc. No, "Ordinary" goes back to the idea of counting, of ordinal numbers: first, second, third, etc. In the Anglican tradition, we track each week by how many Sundays since Trinity. In fact, this Sunday marks the "Second Sunday After Trinity."
For a more in-depth article on Ordinary Time, click here: Ordinary Time.
The liturgical color for Ordinary Time is green, symbolizing our ever-growing faith in our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ as He nudges and shapes us (if we allow Him) into His image: into His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). So as our faith greens, watered by His Word, cultivated in prayer, nurtured in fellowship with others, we grow into Christ-likeness: a beautiful garden for His glory.
Ten or so years ago, I dreamed about heaven. I dreamt that I was planting beautiful rosebushes with deep scarlet blooms--but these bushes were without thorns. Digging in the garden has always been hard physically for me--even before I became ill--but I dreamt that Jesus was there, helping me. And somehow the soil was easy to lift--light, buoyant. In fact, the entire rose bed where I was planting was completely without weeds. Jesus helped me tuck the rich soil around the roots of the scarlet rosebush, its pointed leaves tickling both our noses as we bent into the rose bed, our hands working together. Another aspect of gardening I hate (in addition to digging and weeds) is the perspiration that runs down my face, stinging my eyes. But we were cool despite the warm sun on our backs.
Heaven was all about working alongside Jesus in ideal growing conditions, creating beauty with Him, partnering with Him in simple joys of growing roses--all the hard stuff gone, only the joy remaining.
And although this vision was only a dream--and I rarely remember dreams at all--it has comforted me somehow, showing that even now I can help Jesus grow things--growing my own faith, growing my marriage in His grace, growing our children for His glory. Yes, we still have hard work, weeds, and the sweat of our labor to contend with, but Jesus comes alongside us, the Master Gardener, planning the design of our landscape according to His vision and always ready to lend a hand whenever we allow Him to.
So that's my idea of these Ordinary Days--a time of rooting out weeds, of digging deep into the cool soil, of wiping the sweat from our brows, of planting, watering, cultivating and growing our faith and the faith of those around us. For this is a Community Garden we live in--not a private garden--and we all need one another; it's an integral part of His Master Plan.
So here's a new quotation for this week, on growing and gardening:
"If seeds in the black earth can turn into such beautiful roses, what might not the heart of man become in its long journey toward the stars?"
And the Collect for this week from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer:
O LORD, who never failest to help and govern those whom thou dost bring up in thy stedfast fear and love; Keep us, we beseech thee, under the protection of thy good providence, and make us to have a perpetual fear and love of thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.May the Lord bless you with an ever-growing faith, one that blooms forth grace, hope, peace, and love for all,