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Ordinary time

by davesandel on February 21st, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mardi Gras (Shrove Tuesday)

James 4:8

Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.

What are the borders I set for my God-time?  How do I keep my distance?  How do I “draw near?”

For Roman Catholics and some Episcopalians, this is the last day for awhile of “Ordinary Time.”  Ordinary Time is the longest season (it’s broken into two parts) of the church calendar.  The days between Epiphany and Ash Wednesday, and then again after Pentecost until the first day of Advent are called Ordinary Time.

Ordinary time is not replete with feasts or holidays or fasts or celebration.  It’s just … ordinary.  So what we arrange with God, we arrange on our own.  So to speak.

God has done her part.  God says in Jeremiah 29, “I know the plans I have for you.  Plans to prosper you.”  Prosper you!  And in Jeremiah 32 he continues, “I will find joy in doing good for them.”  Every translation I can find says the same thing.

Jesus reiterates God’s intent in Luke 12:32: “Do not be afraid, little flock.  Your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.”  God has already done this.  Past tense.

In Young’s literal translation, Jesus says that God is “delighted” to do this.  She does not give us the kingdom because of our great righteousness, whether it be during Ordinary Time or during Lent.

And yet, in spite of our great Lack … James tells us to draw near.  Jesus reminds me (and I need reminding!) not to be afraid.  Jeremiah says – in the midst of the devastation of exile, disease and death – that God’s plans are to prosper you, give you hope, fill your future.  As James tells us, so God tells Jeremiah and his fellow citizens: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

“I will be found by you,” God says to Jeremiah.  There is nothing ambiguous about this.  God leads with love, and his love trumps every other card.

Lord, I am looking forward to Lent.  This moment, today, of transition, reminds me of your promises and their never-changing nature.  Thank you.

 

(By the way, pronoun switching in naming God might be awkward, but as I use “she” and “Mother” a little more often, I am beginning to know God as both male and female and neither and both.  I hope it is more helpful to you than irritating.)

 

http://christiancounselingservice.com/archived_devotions.php?article_id=986

 

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