Here in the Northern Rockies, fall is decidedly not the “green season.” As the aspens turn to gold and white again descends on the peaks, we know that verdant hues will soon be largely confined to the evergreens scattered across the hillsides.
However, in the long-standing tradition of the church, autumn is in the heart of the green season—an extensive tract of the liturgical calendar known as Ordinary Time.
For those like myself who have mostly been part of churches that would not in any sense be described as “high church,” the liturgical year is about as familiar as Egyptian hieroglyphics or the Julian calendar. But for centuries, the seasons of the church’s liturgy have provided meaningful rhythms of worship for Christ’s people.
The most familiar liturgical seasons are Advent, which includes the weeks leading up to Jesus’s birth, and Lent, encompassing weeks of preparation for the celebration of Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection. Even churches that eschew the term “liturgy” may have an Advent wreath during the Christmas season, and many of us are acquainted with the practice of giving up something meaningful during the six weeks of Lent.
Outside those seasons, the remainder of the calendar is Ordinary Time, a split season consisting of the weeks stretching between Christmas and the start of Lent and between Easter and the start of Advent.
The various liturgical celebrations and seasons have particular colors associated with them. Purple is typically the color of Lent and Advent, with white being dominant on the holy days of Easter and Christmas. Red appropriately marks the feast days of martyrs.
For Ordinary Time, the color is green. Among other things, green symbolizes the growth of the church following Jesus’s resurrection and ascension, as well as the hope of looking ahead to His second coming.
As a color often associated with life and growth, green is fitting for Ordinary Time. This season is the time when most of our lives are lived—when we dwell and mature as Jesus’s people.
While “ordinary” may provoke thoughts of workaday monotony, life in Ordinary Time should be anything but “plain” or “mundane.” Actually, the term “ordinary” as it is used for this liturgical season originally implied not boredom but order. It derives from the Latin ordinalis, which has to do with “ordering” or “numbering.” Thus, “Ordinary Time” should be all about living a vibrant, well-ordered life as we walk with Christ—a life in which every week is numbered and significant.
We tend to pursue the dramatic, the earthshaking—the extraordinary in our lives. But in this issue of Inscribed, YTI faculty members will look at the ways our ordinary lives in ordinary times are daily infused with vibrance and glory as we walk with our Lord whose “compassions are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22–23). Join us as we explore the adventure of ordinary life in Christ that should be anything but mundane.