Well what exactly do we mean by “Ordinary Time?” It is a rather strange term for a Church Calendar. We normally think of Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter as being those special seasons of the year when we put particular emphases on fasting or feasting, self-examination or holy celebration, and repentance or joyfulness, depending on the season. Well, we can’t be doing those things all the time. Those traditions of the Church that have “Revival Meetings,” or at least used to in days gone by, didn’t have those meetings going on all year round; that time usually lasted, at first, two weeks, then cut down to one, then cut down to three or four days. This is because most people can’t live a 24/7 life of repentance and revival.
This again is the reason for the Church Year: It provides a cycle in which people experience differing seasons emphasizing differing themes. The Year begins with Advent in which we prepare for the coming of our Lord, followed by Christmas and Epiphany in which we celebrate that coming. After that, beginning the first Sunday after Epiphany (January 6), is the beginning of a time in the calendar where we, shall we say, take a break. No, not from Church and Bible reading and prayer, but a break from special emphases demanding certain spiritual attitudes or services. The first part of this “Ordinary Time” lasts from the first Sunday after Epiphany to Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of Lent. This period can be roughly a month to two months in length depending on the date of Easter (which determines the date of Ash Wednesday). Then the Church is in the Season of Lent and then Easter all the way to the Day of Pentecost, which can be as early as the middle of May to sometime in June. Then begins Ordinary Time again through to Advent, and we’ve come full circle. So most of the year is taken up with what is called, “Ordinary Time.”
This is where I depart from the prescribed lectionary readings I used for Advent, Lent, and Easter. What you have before you is my attempt to give you a harmony of the gospels in a year of readings and devotions. I will not be rehearsing those portions of the New Testament dealing with passages I have already covered in the other seasons (e.g., the birth of Jesus, which I covered in Advent and Christmas). As I have said before, if ever I err, I welcome correction and my contact information is available on this webpage. I am honored that anyone would read my writing. If this does nothing but serve God by giving me an outlet to write and a few people to read and be edified for Jesus’ sake, then I have received full payment.
Grace & peace,
Stephen M. Taylor