By Rev. Debra Jene Collum
We now enter the season after Pentecost. The long season in the church year where there are no high holy days. Where we dress the altar in green and it stays that way for a long time. The season is often called “ordinary time.”
This is referring to the idea that we are in a time of simply living as ordinary human beings one day after another, faithfully hearing the teachings of Jesus and figuring out how to apply them to our everyday lives. Living life as ordinary people as Christians.
Many of us long for ordinary days right now, don’t we? To get back to normal. What does that mean? Before the pandemic? Or before the protests? Or before Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Stephon Clark, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and many unnamed were murdered just for being black? Or before becoming aware of the problem of race in our country? Or before what?
What normal do we want to return to?
As we enter into this time of “ordinary time” in the church calendar, we have the opportunity to NOT to go back to the normal “before,” but to find a new normal where ordinary Christians such as us, become extraordinary Christians who say, no we will not return to the pre pandemic racist normal. Because that normal did not honor our God. That normal did not honor the death of Jesus who was born into a family on the fringes of society, people who were not honored, who were abused by the systems of the Roman Empire,
That normal did not aspire to what Jesus lived, died, and rose again to be. That normal was not in response to the power of the Holy Spirit that now lives within us.
In Matthew 28 Jesus calls his disciples, he calls us, to go into all the world, to break down the walls, and go into all those places that need to hear and experience the liberating power of God, Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier. So that all can be saved from their lives of oppression and being the oppressor.
No this is not ordinary time. And this is not the time to go back to normal.
As a matter of fact, if we go back to normal I will be sorely disappointed.
I want to echo many who say, I hope we never get back to normal. I hope that this moment in time will become a beacon of hope filled light in a new narrative of what it means to be a human being of worth in this world.
A new narrative of equal power, equal treatment, equal safety, equal prospects for jobs, housing, health care, education, freedom.