The Joy of Ordinary


For those of you who attend to such ecclesiastical details, the Church is now in what it calls the ‘Ordinary Season’. It doesn’t mean it’s going to be bland, boring or predictable in church at the moment (or at any rate, no more than usual), but that following Pentecost and Trinity Sunday, there are no great festivals of the faith to celebrate until we get to Advent, and that’s not till the end of November. For a few months, we can forget the high days and holidays and simply concentrate on, well, being ‘ordinary’.

Personally, I find that rather encouraging. All my life I’ve been a person who enjoys the ordinary. Even on holidays which I’ve enjoyed, I’ve secretly looked forward to getting home and picking up the familiar routine. The dictionary defines ‘ordinary’ as ‘with no distinctive features, normal, usual’. Well, I think everyday, ordinary, normal, usual life still includes plenty of ‘distinctive features’ – surprises, too.

To me an impressive feature of the biblical gospels is how normal and ordinary most of it seems. Yes, there are those mighty acts of power which we call miracles, but the setting of them is about as ‘ordinary’ as you could get: a cattle-shed, a lakeside, a fishing boat, a garden, a little girl’s room, a wedding party.

It’s in the rich raw world of the ordinary that God does wonderful things, just as it’s in the routine of daily life that kind words are spoken, the sick healed, the sad comforted. I’m sometimes more aware of God in these ‘ordinary’ settings than in the extraordinary splendour of a great cathedral. Long live the ‘ordinary’!

David Winter

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