Ten days ago marked the beginning of ordinary time. I wasn’t raised in a litrugical tradition so I didn’t know about ordinary time. The time between Pentecost, the end of Easter and the beginning of Advent, this is ordindary time.
I was the painter for church for Pentecost. I stood next to the stage and moved paint across canvas as I listened to the songs, the prayer, the scripture, the sermon. I had signed up for Pentecost Sunday on purpose. Some days all I have is the groaning of the spirit. I am drawn to the mystery, to the things that can’t be explained. I don’t have any more explanations, and I don’t really need any either. But man, could I go for a miracle.
I marked pentecost, paint on canvas, by using only ordinary objects, child toys and kitchen utensils, a mascarre wand and my own two hands. Isn’t that what the spirit came to do, to baptize with tongues of fire and claim all things as holy? God doesn’t just want the paint brushes, the things He is supposed to use. God wants to come and claim all things as His, worthy and loved.
I spent the 40 days of Lent praying for dreams to come true. I spent the 50 days of Easter praying for something to break. I think the thing that finally broke was me.
The way painting works at my church is you need to come to a stopping point between services, so that everyone can take communion in peace. I managed to get all the texture in at the first service. The second service found me staring at the canvas wondering how to gently was bits of this canvas with color that would draw out the texture and not overpower it. After putting the brushes away so I wouldn’t be tempted by the traditional, I was left with only my hands.
I was left with only my hands, and slowly as the message was preached and the baby was baptized in the name of the Father Son and Holy Spirit, my hands were baptized in dripping color. I was reminded that I am the tool God has chosen to use for His work.
I am praying for signs, for wonders, for a miracle. Instead I am given ordinary things, ordinary time, isn’t that just like God.
I am learning to stop looking to the sky. Don’t get me wrong, I will keep praying for a miracle. But I will also fix my hands to the textures I feel and think on the work that can be done with my hands. I am looking for ordinary tools in this ordinary world. I am stepping into the miracle of ordinary time.
Thank you for showing the way. I love how you see the holy in the ordinary. I think it’s time to get my fingers back into some paint.
Most days are ordinary. “Serve wholeheartedly” in these ordinary days, “as if you were serving the Lord.” Eph. 6:7 Some days I just put one foot in front of the other.
Ordinary people with ordinary tools on ordinary days. And yet you’re so right, there’s a miracle in there too. Beautiful, Abby, thank you.
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