A letter from the Vicarage – Rev’d Andy Stand

Have you ever noticed how it is, that some things are easier to describe not by what they are, but by what they are not. Take Love for example, how would you describe it?

As we head into what some might call, Wedding Season, there is a fair chance I may be listening to St. Paul’s eulogy on love, from chapter 13 of his first letter to the Church in Corinth.

But what is it? What is Love?

Well positively Paul tells us that it is both patient and kind; but then he resorts to not telling us what it is, but rather what it isn’t. It’s not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It is not irritable or resentful, and it does not rejoice in wrongdoing.

The church does something similar in its definitions of the ecclesiastical seasons. Trinity Sunday (27th May), marks the beginning of what the church calls ‘Ordinary time’. But what is ‘ordinary time’?

It is that time in the church’s calendar which is not Advent, or Christmas, or Epiphany; is not Lent, Holy Week or Eastertide; and is not these days also the Kingdom Season (from All Saints day (1st Nov) to the beginning of Advent). It is not a festival season (like Christmas and Easter) nor a time of preparation for a festival season (like Advent and Lent) and therefore it has been dubbed as ‘ordinary time’.

But how ‘ordinary’ is it? Time as most of us are more than well aware is a precious commodity. We often want more of it than there is available to us, in this sense all time is special. Time is though a gift from God and in that sense too is always special. Yet how often do we actually perceive that? How often do we perceive the special in the midst of the ordinary?

The lectionary (or calendar) for June does actually have its special times, its festival days, in the midst of the Ordinary time. Of special significance for my previous church, St. Peter’s, Upper Gornal will be St. Peter’s Day (29th June) and Petertide. I am very much looking forward during this Petertide (specifically 30th June) to the occasion when Robin Parry is to be ordained as a deacon (alongside a couple of people from the parish where I served my curacy) and begin his ministry primarily serving at St. Martin’s, but also within the wider team.

It is of course another of the peculiar characteristics of time, that the time since I, myself, was ordained as a deacon, on the one hand seems like just 5 minutes, and on the other seems as if I have been working out my vocation for a lifetime. I was very fortunate in my curacy that the folks in Bromsgrove were very welcoming of Chris and I, and I trust, we will be equally to supportive of Robin, Carol and Hannah as they adjust to this change in their lives.

Let us pray that in the midst of this ordinary time, God will bless us all with an awareness of those special blessings that He pours out upon us to transform the ordinary into the special.

God bless

Revd. Andy Stand

St. Philip & St. James Parish Church Whittington, Worcs. WR5 2RQ