Saturday, January 23, 2016
Ordinary Time: Testing Daily Discipleship
Ordinary time tests our faith. Are we following Jesus because we are genuinely committed to him, willing to be faithful through thick and thin, or are we doing so because we want more of the warm inner feelings that we enjoy so much?
January and February can be so bland. There is no green to see, no flowing water (at least in frozen-over Minnesota). Confined to the indoors, life can become dull. This is also the season of the Church Year known as “Ordinary Time.” Lost between the hope and light of Advent/Christmas and the intensity of Lent, leading into Easter, Ordinary Time is just that: ordinary. All combined, this can be a flat time of year for me—physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Ordinary life and Ordinary Time, however, are valuable because they test us. If we have been going to church and practicing daily devotions simply because we like beautiful services, inner comfort or spiritual “high,” our devotion dissipates like the morning fog in the midst of commonplace responsibilities and the commitment of daily discipleship this time of year. We shift our focus to more exciting options than the long-haul of spiritual growth. Although we still want to consider ourselves “good Christians,” our lives have little to do with pursuing Christ.
Yes, Ordinary Time proves what is inside us. If our hearts have shallow roots, anchored only in the special times of life, we dry up during long cold seasons. If, however, we choose to put our roots deep down in ongoing discipleship, we will do well, even when spiritual consolations are few and far between. Then, as the world around us begins to thaw--come Lent, Easter and springtime—we discover that our roots are stronger and deeper than ever in our devotion to the Lord.
Let us, therefore, take courage during Ordinary Time. As Scripture exhorts us:
“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly
rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have
done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.
For in just a very little while,
‘He who is coming will come and will not delay.’”
2016 © Glenn E. Myers