"Ordinary time" in this season after Pentecost isn't only about "everydayness." Ordinary is the adjectival form of ordinal, which refers to a numerical sequence. It's a fitting description for a season that doesn't lead to Christmas or Easter; rather this is a season of noticing the days and weeks as they go by. Liturgically speaking, ordinary time gives us the space to kick back and consider the lilies of the field—literally. As writer Annie Dillard observed, "How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives." It makes sense to get on with the ordinary—believing that if God is in the details, surely God also is in the broad strokes.
Mujerista theologian Ada María Isasi-Díaz describes an understanding of the sacred that is imbued with ordinariness as "lo cotidiano." In From the Heart of Our People, Latina feminist theologian María Pilar Aquino builds on this concept by describing lo cotidiano as those "daily struggles for humanization, for a better quality of life, and for greater social justice" that give Christian faith meaning for so many of us.
Living in the ordinary through ordinary time makes social justice a spiritual discipline that can bring us to a new awareness of how God is above us, beneath us, and beside us.
Malinda Elizabeth Berry is a dissertation fellow at Goshen College in Goshen, Indiana.
Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31; Psalm 8; Romans 5:1-5; John 16:12-15
I teach an undergraduate theology course in which we talk about God and the Christian life in "organic" vs. "conventional" terms. Organic theology grows from the good earth God created, the good earth Wisdom sings about in Proverbs 8.