Sunday, 16 December 2018

God is with us even at ‘ordinary’ times

IN the Church of England and Roman Catholic calendars, we have just begun what are rather prosaically called the “ordinary”

IN the Church of England and Roman Catholic calendars, we have just begun what are rather prosaically called the “ordinary” weeks of the year.

It’s not a bad name really, I suppose — Christmas is past and even the January sales are struggling to maintain some momentum.

Things have gone back to being “ordinary” and now the weeks will simply pass, marked only perhaps by an anniversary or a birthday, or perhaps even a holiday.

No matter how much we might dread, or look forward to, Christmas or any other particular date in the calendar, there is something reassuring about getting back to the “ordinary” because on the whole that is where most of us spend our lives.

If we are in work, then our weeks have a rhythm of their own, a pattern which we are usually relatively happy to follow. Even if we are retired, we tend to create our own pattern based perhaps on a week, or a month, or just a time of year.

Here in the UK we are lucky that we have very definite seasons — long and hopefully warm days in the summer and cold, short days in the winter, with a slow progress from the one to the other on a seemingly ceaseless cycle.

Similarly our lives follow the same sort of pattern, what Disney characters called the “Circle of Life”, a circle in which we are all involved and in which most of the time is “ordinary”. Now we have begun this New Year, and for most of us things have gone back to being ordinary, we are given the chance to take stock of our lives and of the things we feel are important to us.

But one truth remains — we are all important to God. That is why he became just like us in the child of Bethlehem and why he experienced all that it is to be human, even down to dying.

And because, even in the ordinary things of life, we are important to him, he did one more thing which was extraordinary — he gave himself so that we might share his risen and eternal life of love.

In the ordinary things of life we are all called to love, as he loves us. When we see around us things and events which seem to contradict his law of love, then we can be sure that it is not God’s will for those things to happen.

He would much prefer for all people to follow that law of peace and love which was lived out perfectly by Jesus, even though he experienced the exact opposite in the lives of others.

So we can rejoice in the ordinary, the everyday and the unremarkable because that’s where we will find God, strengthening us to live those lives of peace and love.

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