Diocese of Oxford

Letter from Dave Adams LLM/PTO

The church describes the second half of the Christian calendar “Ordinary Time”.  It sounds like we’ve run out of special occasions and can now get back to the everyday.  Yet ordinary time these days isn’t what it used to be.  Ordinary life is pretty desperate.  Wars, climate change, environmental catastrophe, street crime.  This is the new normal and we don’t like it.
The French philosopher, Edgar Morin now 102, is a member of the generation that stormed the beaches of Normandy 80 years ago.  He wrote an article in the French newspaper Le Monde earlier this year describing the ‘poly-crisis’ we now face and our inability to do anything about the mess we are in.  He writes, “We do not know if the global situation is only desperate or truly hopeless”.
Maybe, just maybe, the second half of the Christian calendar can offer us hope. Ordinary Time is an invitation to live in light of what has been revealed in the great festivals of the Christian Year we have celebrated in the past six months.  Christmas tells us that God is with us, living amongst ordinary folk like us; Easter demonstrates that death is not the end and we can live in the hope of resurrection; and Pentecost is a reminder that the Spirit that sustains every breath we take, empowers us to live lives of faith, hope and love.
And in light of this we can expect to see the extraordinary in the ordinary, to witness fractals of heaven on earth in the ordinariness of everyday.  George MacLeod, the founder of the Iona community describes them as “the glory in the grey”.
As a Christian I hear this as a clear call to work and pray “Your kingdom come, on earth as in heaven” with greater urgency.  These are not just words we repeat Sunday by Sunday.  They should inspire the way we live our ordinary lives day in and day out, knowing that God is with us, he has suffered the pains of humanity and has overcome death, giving us the Spirit of Life to enable us work for the Kingdom, and witness fragments of the Kingdom in our ordinary lives.  Morin ends his article in Le Monde by saying “the unexpected is always possible”.  This is our faith and hope and in this Spirit we live through Ordinary Time.
Best wishes