In-between Times II

In the Liturgical Calendar, we are that ‘in-between time’ which is often referred to as ‘Ordinary Time’, in this case, the time between Trinity Sunday, the Sunday after Pentecost, stretching through the last half of the Church year up to the Sunday Next Before Advent.

I am not sure that any of us right now think that this is an ordinary time – it is anything but ordinary, isn’t it?  At first thought, you would not think that it is extra-ordinary either, at least not until we remember that God has a habit of making the ordinary ‘extra-ordinary’.  God also has a habit of using the ‘in-between times’ too.  These can often be times of tremendous journeying, growth and transformation.

Some of the extraordinary things that I’ve become aware of include the astonishing response and efforts of our country’s NHS workers, carers, teachers, supermarket workers, volunteers being willing to go that ‘extra mile’ to help others in their community, and the way in which families (including church families) and friends have rallied round to support each other in a more intentional way.

Throughout salvation history the people of God have always had to live in that between time – the time between the now and the not yet; the time between where we currently find ourselves in life and in our society, and where, in God’s grace, we will ultimately be. Think about the Exodus, captivity in Babylon, the time between Jesus’ death and resurrection, or the time between Jesus Ascension and Pentecost.

In the ‘in-between’ time we find ourselves in now, that time after the breakout of the Covid-19 virus and what will ultimately emerge as a new normal, it is perhaps helpful to remember that there is another name for this liturgical season – Trinity.  Many commentaries seem to agree that the Trinity season is about our growth in holiness, and our sanctification[1]. When we think about the Godhead, we are reminded of unity, community, fellowship, creativity, growth and wholesomeness – how we as the people of God are called to holiness and to be in community with one another.

I pray you might journey well through this ‘in-between’ time, that you might frequently capture glimpses of the extra-ordinary, and that with confidence, you might be reminded of the prophet Jeremiah’s words “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

May God the Holy Trinity make you strong in faith and love, defend you on every side, and guide you in truth and peace; and the blessing of God Almighty, Father, Son and Holy Spirit be with you and upon those who you love, now and always.  Amen

[1] David G Phillips produced an in-depth analysis of the Trinity Season in his paper “The Rationale of the Trinity Season Lectionary in the Book of Common Prayer”, the substance of a talk given to the Prayer Book Society of Nova Scotia at St. George’s Round Church, Halifax, October 23, 2004

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