I was looking at the liturgical calendar recently. We are in what it says is “Ordinary Time,” this time between Advent and Christmas, and the beginning of Lent with Ash Wednesday. Ordinary Time. What an odd thing to call it. As I look around at the world I have to think, this is no ordinary time. In our ever changing and revolving world and the ever-changing events of our lives, how would we begin to say anything is ordinary?
Well, I suppose, unfortunately what has become ordinary is turmoil, distrust, hatred, lying and backstabbing. To me, what should be ordinary is love, togetherness, joyous community and the experience of living on earth as it is in heaven.
In 1940 Franklin Roosevelt was seeking an unprecedented third term as President of the United States. It had never been done before. We were still in depression, war had broken out in Europe and it was clear it would soon become a World War, most likely on two fronts. A major crisis. The country needed continuity of leadership during this time of crisis, but a third term as president had never before been done. How to proceed?
FDR did not want to go to the Democratic Convention and place his name in nomination. He was far too clever and far too much the master politician to do that. But he had a plan.
In the end he prevailed upon his wife Eleanor to speak on his behalf.
What she said to the convention that night and what she reminded them was that “this is no ordinary time.” It is no time to be complacent. We cannot afford that luxury. It is no time to let down our guard and isolate ourselves, but to move forward with the faith to do that which can be done and which must be done.
These times in which we live today are anything but ordinary times.
But I wonder. Was there ever such a thing?
You hear certain people, certain politicians, long for what they call the good old days. Days when they say life was simpler. Many of them long for what they call the status quo, the peaceful. They long for the 1950’s.
But the 1950’s were not so wonderful for everyone. Not so good in the 1950s if you are a minority. Many in the 1950s were living through a time of hate and distrust, a time of Jim Crow and lynchings. Women too were confined to certain roles and if you are gay or lesbian, forget it. You are considered to be suffering from mental illness. This was no ordinary time.
It was also into such a time that Jesus was born into this world. It was into such a time that he came to upset the status quo and proclaim a new order. But he didn’t do it without a cost.
The Christ was born into a time of crisis. The Romans were pitted against the Hebrew people and demonstrated their own brand of Jim Crow.
I can just imagine two Roman soldiers standing on the street corner of Main and Broadway in Jerusalem. One turns to the other and says, “It’s too quiet today. We need someone to start up some mess. But wait, here come two Jews. Let’s provoke them into something so that we can get our daily dose of satisfaction. So I can get some blood on my sword. So I can go home this evening and tell my wife I had a good day.”
Jesus was born into no ordinary time.
And even for Jesus the Jewish leaders, the Pharisees and the Sadducees were pitted against him. It was no ordinary time. Wherever he went and in whatever he did there were those who were ready to persecute and torment him. As events were to unfold Jesus very earthly world was forever on the brink of falling apart. There was that which needed to be done, but was there the strength to see it through? How was he to continue with his message of love, and peace and inclusion in this hostile and unpredictable world? How was he to continue with the cards of the deck stacked against him?
Jesus did what he would always do. He turned within to that place where he always found the fullness of Spirit/God.
Each time we turn within we find again that perfect love that always awaits our turning to it, recognizing it and affirming its presence in, through, and as our lives, so that our future moments can be filled with hope and possibility. Each time we turn within we know we are called to share this love with each and every person we meet. No matter who they are, they too are Spirit’s creation and they too are deserving of love.
The answer is to always come from the place of unconditional love. That, in a nutshell, is the gospel message. Each moment we live is filled with extraordinary opportunities to share love and comfort with others. Each moment is ours to grow and to learn and experience the fullness of all those things that make our lives truly the experience of living on earth as it is in heaven.
Each time we turn within we encounter an amazing Spirit that welcomes us, comforts us, lifts us up and sets before us wonderful blessings. This is how we get through this and every moment. This is how we become instruments to changing our world, one thought at a time. And this is how, one day, we will understand the true meaning of living on earth on as it is heaven.
Rev. Jefferson Beeker
We live our lives one thought at a time. Let each of those thoughts really count for something wonderful.
Be prepared to change your thinking and change your life.
Follow me on Twitter @jeffersonbeeker for daily affirmations of uplifting and positive faith.