There is really nothing ordinary about 'ordinary time', the way the morning is awakening now, not with the robin's song, but with squirrel chatter, and the sun glinting across the gravel drive to call me into just another late summer's day. I wonder if the creators of the Common Lectionary chose the time as 'ordinary' because it is a common, no frills or feasts time in the life of the church calendar. Or perhaps, the stories of Jesus actions in the gospel are no more than 'ordinary'.
Nevertheless, it is a time when the slurping of the trees can be heard when all is finally still as darkness descends, and the calls of the owls beat a rhythm to the trees exhalation of carbon dioxide. A time maybe, when all the earth, not just we inhabitants, take a collective breath. For sure, all growing things are nearing their harvest time, the fruit is fast ripening, the harvest preparations are steady, and in spite of the bustle, there is quiet. All that has been set to produce will produce.
1. The labyrinth at the Tahoe Companions Retreat on the Inner Way is set out on the shore where there is a lone stretch of asphalt, and the retreatants walk at all times of the day outside the worship space where I spend most of my time putting the music together for worship.
Some of us may not know the labyrinth is a resurrection symbol. The labyrinth, by it's inherent nature proves an optimistic allegory of the earth. As we live and walk our paths here on earth, we all reach certain destinations; we go where we will go,and come where we will come. At any stage we can begin again, for every corner of the labyrinth offers a new view as you round it. It is a true symbol of confidence: On the way to the center you can never get lost, and in the end, the paths of your life will reveal themselves with some sort of meaningful pattern.
The little family of small children approaching the labyrinth set on the shore of the lake, was backlit by the purple and orange radiance outlining the stormclouds of the evening's late cloudburst. The children, however, were not deterred by the dimming sky and ran to the labyrinth. With shoes wetted by the rain, they proceeded to leave their blessed footprints on the rainbow canvas. Their mother I could see from where I paused working at my keyboard, was not happy with them, and from her bending and conjecturing, I could see she was calling to them to 'take off your shoes'. God bless her, I lamented, how are we going to clean the marks of the shoes from off the canvas labyrinth. As my thoughts were negotiating the negative impact of their actions, she gathered up her smallest, slid her own shoes off while the other two did likewise, and as the purple faded into just a golden glow above the horizon, they began to walk, mom holding the toddler in the bend of her elbow, as the others now almost gingerly stepped, trying to match her footsteps into the twists and turns of the hemispheres to the center. As they tumbled to keep up, her skirt caught the last ray of the sun, and it was on fire.
Invitation to pause.
Or close and come back another day.
2. Hey you Birthday Girl. You've been rolling through my consciousness like slow waves circling in and out of a tidepool ever since I received your invitation for dinner. More truly it's your shape that shadows. The flow of your skirts, your graceful walk, the dog-like angle of your head and sideways glance when you're wondering or questioning or listening. And when that shadow crosses mine those small bubbles of joy are formed, like at the water's edge, or the top of the wave, only they are in my heart and often in my giggle.
Lately I've been thinking about the developmental clock, that time frame within each of us that somehow knows its time. Look at you, this inner clock demands, be glad at last for what you see. Weeping a little is okay, as the past's tentacles loosen and release. But, now LOOK. See you. Love you, it invites. Be whole as you are whole the bubbles seem to be saying as they burst. What you see is what you accurately named some months ago as you spiraled more closely into forgiveness.
I'm wondering if it may be time for you. Could the past's negative impact possibly be over and undone, now that it has all been told and experienced and owned. Might you really and truly be free this new birth year, to begin to augment your story-line with hallelujah's and alleluia's and Oh My Gosh's. The very thought brings tears of joy for you.
(Holy Jesus, how in our world did 'ordinary time' become so spectacularly 'un-ordinary!)
I imagine trumpets sounding and a voice calling for you: "_________ left her Spirit-world, was made flesh, and was born to gift her one sacred life with her all."
God blesses you on your birthday, lovely one.