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The Adventure of the Ordinary

October 25, 2022 | Dr. Jay T. Smith

“Ordinary Time” is the time “between”: the time between the great feast days on the Christian calendar—Christmas, Christmastide, Lent, Easter, Eastertide, Pentecost, and Advent. Calling it “ordinary” does not mean it is unimportant time, but rather simply that it is counted by the use of “ordinals”—numbers that express a date.

The truth is that ordinary time has the possibility of being extraordinary time. Christians don’t wait for the “high holidays” to make a difference. Each and every day, we wake up to a day full of possibilities—full of opportunities to represent and even to be Christ to others.

Christianity Is a Daring Adventure or Nothing

Helen Keller once said, “Faith alone defends. Life is a daring adventure or nothing. There is no safety guaranteed in the world of men.” This is true. Faith alone defends. If followers of Jesus “play it safe” and do not look for the opportunities and possibilities every day to reflect the love and truth of our Master then the day truly has not been lived, and we have wasted a day, and we have missed a chance. There can be no fear in the life of the Christian other than the awe and respect for God. We love, show mercy, and forgive others without limit, without expectation of return or reward. The only safety in our world is living in the life of Christ.

Adventure is an apt way to describe the authentic Christian life. Not knowing what is next, not knowing who will need the love and faith you possess, and not knowing the extent of the trials that will come your way are part of the adventure. The mind of Christ says, “yes!” and “YES!” to these opportunities. Paul, the early Christian apostle, showed us how adventure is the place in the Christian life where we experience the power, the peace, and the grace of God at work.

Adventure, on our human level, is an event or circumstance that stretches our talents and abilities and tests our will. When we “go on adventures,” we go skiing, rock climbing, sky diving, water diving, bike or motorcycle riding, bungee jumping, rodeoing, hang-gliding, and engage in similar tests of strength, skill, and mind. These adventures have a place in our lives too, and especially in our lives of faith. More often than not, adventures in this perspective are used to provide a challenge, a rush, and some type of spiritual “high” for the adventurer.

Speaking to Others Through Adventure

Additionally, communities are formed around the different activities that give people meaning. Christians enjoy these adventure activities as well, but more often than not, we do not understand how these events can contribute to our mission and ministry.

Yet this is exactly how we can make “ordinary time” an adventure. Secular adventure involves some level of faith or trust. We like playing basketball, camping, climbing, skiing, fishing, and other events that require skill and trust. These are opportunities to allow Christ speak to other people’s lives through your deeds and words, through your personality and care.

Don’t be fooled—there is nothing ordinary about ordinary time. It’s a true adventure, if you are living the life of Jesus!

Dr. Jay T. Smith

President and Bridger Professor of Theology & Ethics

Dr. Jay Smith leads the Yellowstone Theological Institute as its president. Dr. Smith has served as minister of youth, music and as senior […]

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