This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

A time to grow

The seasons of the church calendar reflect the highs and lows of our walk with Christ. Much is written about the valleys of Advent and Lent and the heights of Christmas and Easter. Less talked about are the seasons of Ordinary Time, which follow Epiphany (the end of Christmas) and Pentecost (the end of Easter).

Yet the bulk of the church calendar year is taken up by Ordinary Time. It contains some special days that a more church-calendar-minded congregation might recognize, such as All Saints Day (Nov. 1) and Reign of Christ Sunday (the Sunday before Advent), but most of it reflects the ongoing growth in our spiritual lives when nothing too observably exciting is happening.

That describes the bulk of our walk as well. Ordinary Time is a good time to establish or strengthen nourishing spiritual practices like regular Bible reading, prayer, fellowship and service.

This year, Lent begins Feb. 14, and Eastertide runs from April 1 to May 19. Then the longer of the Ordinary Time stretches will run from Pentecost on May 20 to Dec. 1, the day before the next year begins with Advent. The second stretch of Ordinary Time is more than six months.

Now, as we approach the end of the first stretch of Ordinary Time, what are some things we can start doing to help our spiritual growth in those more-than-six months?

Some of us will continue reading through the entire Bible. If we aren’t doing that, we might read through a book of the Bible and study it in more depth.

It is a good time to remember that the prayer of the righteous is powerful (James 5:16). Consider committing or recommitting to earnestly pray for something you desire in line with God’s will (Matt. 6:10).

Are we regularly in fellowship with other believers (Heb. 10:24-25)? Perhaps God is leading us to commit to membership in a congregation, or to help facilitate worship and fellowship times.

The call to service is ongoing (Matt. 25:40). We might look for those among our congregation, family or other acquaintances who have a need. Perhaps we might learn more from a perspective we hadn’t considered before. We may join an effort for peace and justice, or we may support someone else’s project.

Let’s ask God to help us grow during our “ordinary” walk with him.

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