As faithful Carolinians, many of you will undoubtedly take off and spend some time at the North Carolina State fair this month. Music, games, and all sorts of fun attractions will draw folks from all over the state. And let’s not forget deep-fried Twinkies or some of the other adventurous foods!
I have to admit, I am pretty adventurous when it comes to trying some of the crazy food combinations. Our first year in North Carolina, my wife tricked me into eating sow’s tongue – but perhaps that’s a story for another time!
It’s amazing how something like the fair can become an annual tradition for friends and families. Sure, we love to gather for football and basketball games too, but for a lot of folks the NC State Fair is the highlight of the year.
Life in The Church is really no different. We have seasons and times throughout the year that serve to bring us together and focus our attention on certain aspects of our faith.
If you are unfamiliar, the liturgical seasons in western Christianity are Advent, Christmas, Ordinary Time (after Epiphany), Lent, Easter, and Ordinary Time (after Pentecost).
Following the liturgical seasons of the church is a great way to keep grounded and connected in our faith. Advent and Christmas are my favorites but I think there is something special that is often overlooked in Ordinary Time. During this time church often looks and feels the same.
We sing the same number of songs in the same order and we can usually count on being out of service in an hour. It may not look like much, but this is where good stuff is happening.
It is in Ordinary Time that slow transformation happens. We can certainly have amazing mountaintop experiences at Christmas Eve candlelight services, but let’s not overlook the transformation that comes from the weekly gathering of The Church.
It is often the mundane and routine services that are unremarkable from one week to the next that allow us to be shaped.
The same could be said for The Church. We are strengthened and renewed by the steady river of worship and praise. We are changed by hearing God’s word. We are shaped by being part of a community of believers.
We look forward to those special times that we can gather as a church family, but if we look back we will be able to see just how much we were changed by the blessed routine of Ordinary Time!