Ordinary Time

"Ordinary" Time

Most of our friends and neighbors short-changed themselves this winter: while some kept their holiday spirit going through all of the Twelve Days of Christmas, others seemed to think that by the end of Christmas day, all the festivities were over.  One could even spot one or two newly-shorn Christmas trees lying sadly by the curb on December 26th.  One could almost sense the impatience: "Well, we sang the carols, opened the presents, what more is there?"

At St. Paul's, we knew there was a lot more to come!  As a community of faith that takes seriously our connection to the story that brought us (and brings us) into being, we understand that things don't just stop when the angels go back to heaven and the shepherds are again hard at work.  Jesus' birth at Christmas (that we had prepared for in Advent) was just the beginning; twelve days later, on the Feast of the Epiphany, the mysterious appearance of the Magi with their precious, evocative gifts warns that the holy Child has come, not to benefit one small community or nation, but for all the world.  But even then we're not done: on the first Sunday after the Epiphany we watch in wonder as Jesus descends into the waters of the Jordan in baptism, showing us how the old life of sin and decay can be drowned in the flood; and as he rises clean and pure into the new life of grace, the Father announces his favor and empowers the Only-Begotten for the incomprehensible work that lies ahead.

And you thought nothing special was going on!  Each of the these occasions called for great celebration, for "hymn and chant and high-thanksgiving," every bit as much as Christmas, and St. Paul's kept the feast, with incense, processions, and joyful music—until we could almost feast no more!  And when the last Alleluia was sung, and the heavy gold vestments doffed, and the last candle snuffed out, the joyfully-tired are given a restful break in what is understandably called, "Ordinary Time."  These weeks of simplicity between The Baptism of Our Lord and the beginning of Lent are a time to relax, a time for reflection—not penance, not yet!—but a time to regain our balance, to rest up for what's ahead....

Because where God is concerned, things never really stop; the story is never over.  God gives us breathing-room so that when the next flurry of activity comes, we will be renewed and strengthened to take up our part, in celebration or repentence, with sorrow or with joy—to take up our active part in the ongoing story of our salvation, and the world's.  It's great to hear a good story; it's amazing to be a part of it.  At St. Paul's we welcome you to come and live the story with us!

Please join us for these important events in our life of faith:

February 12th     Shrove Tuesday - 6:00pm Pancake Supper and Cabaret
February 13th     Ash Wednesday - 7:30am Eucharist with Imposition of Ashes
February 13th     Ash Wednesday - 7:30pm Eucharist with Imposition of Ashes

We are an Episcopal parish of the Diocese of Newark,
proudly part of the Anglican Communion