by Sam Gutierrez
Once again, we have celebrated the gift of God’s life-giving Spirit on Pentecost Sunday. Now we’ve moved into the second half of the liturgical year called Ordinary Time.
Ordinary Time is the longest liturgical season. It begins on Trinity Sunday and ends on Christ the King Sunday, the last Sunday before Advent. At the start of this season, Trinity Sunday reminds us that we (and the church) live, move, and have our being within the life of the Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. At the end of Ordinary Time, Christ the King Sunday puts the spotlight firmly on Christ who is the centerpiece of and avenue through which God is bringing about wholeness and healing to the entire created order (see Colossians 1:15-20).
Ordinary Time is ordinary in the sense that the days are numbered. The word “ordinary” stems from the Latin words “ordo” (meaning order) and “ordinalis” (referring to numbers in a series). Simply put, Ordinary Time is numbered time.
But Ordinary Time is not ordinary, nor is it merely “numbered time.” Some have noticed that the liturgical calendar can be divided into two distinct but connected parts: the story of Jesus and the story of the Church. The story of Jesus starts in Advent and transitions at Pentecost, when the ascended Jesus sends the Spirit to empower the church to be his hands and feet in the world – his body. Pentecost kicks off the second part of the liturgical year. In fact, Ordinary Time could also be called Pentecost Time.
As the church goes into the world as the body of Christ (by the power of the Spirit), it’s important that the church remembers that its work is really the work of Christ. More specifically, it’s Trinitarian work – Father, Son, and Spirit all working to heal and bring about wholeness to a fractured and broken creation suffering the devastating effects of sin. By faith (by the power of the Spirit) the church participates in the life and the work of the Triune God.
Next year on Trinity Sunday, I’ll delve into various aspects of Trinitarian theology and its implications, but this year, let me guide you to some resources for further reading:
Article 8 of the Belgic Confession attempts to name the persons of the Trinity (buckle your seatbelts – this gets deep!)
A funny video about how all well-intentioned Trinitarian analogies end up as heresies rejected by the church over time.
The Bible Project looks to the story of Scripture to tackle the Question – “Who is God?”