A Prayer for Ordinary Time…

Summer is officially here now, Lord.

The slow season, 
the travel season, 
the take-a step-away-from-the-usual season:
the usual schedule,
the usual people,
the usual obligations,
the usual expectations,
the usual….
And our church calendar coincides so nicely with our
day-timer calendar!
For on our church calendar, we’ve moved from Eastertide 
into the season of Pentecost –
the season of Common Time, 
of Ordinary Time.
I love that!
Ordinary Time.
And sometimes, Lord, it begins to feel like we do
indeed have to move away from the usual,
in order to truly step into the ordinary!
To let go of the clutter
and the appointments
and the activities of our friends and various family members,
in order to just sort of settle down into a
regular,
less-constrained,
less-contained,
something-more-like-ordinary
life.
Why-ever
and however
and whatever 
it takes,
I am glad and grateful that it happens, Lord.
I need some ordinary time!
And I’m pretty sure that these friends,
gathered here to worship you today,
that they need some ordinary time, too.
So this morning, I want to say ‘thank you’
for this time,
this stretch of ordinary time from now until August – 
time to stretch out a little,
time to sit and talk
with friends,
time to be in the yard or the patio or the park
and listen to the children play,
time to watch the shadows lengthen 
in the afternoon sunlight.
Thank you for friends,
and children
and parks
and summer sunlight.
And I want to thank you for the space that
this ordinary time opens up inside of us –
space to think,
space to remember,
space to pray,
space to dream.
Thank you for minds,
thank you for memories;
thank you for prayer,
thank you for dreams.
Thank you, too, for the catch-up opportunities
that come with ordinary time.
Sometimes those we most need to play catch-up with
are those people that we live with
or care about the most.
Your word for us today is a powerful one,
and it speaks to our need to honor commitments made,
in marriage,
in friendship,
in relationship.
And a primary ingredient in honoring and keeping commitments
is time – plain old, ordinary time.
Time spent talking,
Time spent listening,
Time spent sitting or walking or working together
with those whom you’ve given us to love and live with.
So I thank you today for heartfelt conversations
that are open and honest,
filled with laughter or with tears.
I thank you for people who listen to me.
And I thank you for space and time without speech,
yet rich with companionship and shared history.
Even as I say these words of thanks, O, Lord,
I am keenly aware that there are many here today
who find it hard to say ‘thank you’ just now.
Some find that ordinary time stretches out endlessly,
with not enough companionship
or meaningful conversation to fill the hours and days.
Some are living with loss and grief,
unable to imagine a joy-filled future.
Some have given their commitments full-hearted attention for years
and find that now, they’re holding nothing but dust,
the dust of broken hearts, shattered dreams and great reservoirs of regret. 
O, Lord, have mercy!
Have mercy on those who are lonely this day.
Have mercy on those who are grieving this day.
Have mercy on those whose marriages
or families
are fighting for life this day.
Have mercy, O Lord.  Have mercy.
Grant, O Lord, that we who rejoice in ordinary time
may extend your arms of grace and mercy toward
those who don’t.
For we need each other to be a living and vibrant community of Jesus in this place.
The wonderful thing about ordinary is that….it’s ordinary!
Sometimes we’re doing great,
and sometimes we’re not.
Sometimes we’re rejoicing in life,
and sometimes we’re struggling to survive.
Sometimes we’re buoyant and believing,
and sometimes we’re downhearted and doubting.
But by your grace and through your power,
we’re in this together,
reminding one another of the gift of ordinary time.
And we do this through Jesus Christ,
who chose to leave his extraordinary heavenly home
and live a wondrously ordinary human life.
Glory be!
Amen.

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