July 29, 2019
by Cindy Stulce
Laity of First-Centenary UMC (Chattanooga, TN)
Scenic South District
Back when I was delivering mail for the U.S. Postal Service, I always looked forward to federal holidays, especially Monday holidays--a three-day weekend!
However, from the Fourth of July until Labor Day, there were no holidays, no special days at all, just a two-month-long period where it seemed nothing at all was happening.
The church year also has periods like that, two of them, in fact: a shorter one after Christmas, and a much longer one, the period we are in now, after Pentecost. Together these times-between-holidays, which make up most of the liturgical year, are known as Ordinary Time.
But there is nothing "ordinary" about Ordinary Time. Nor is it intended to be a sort of winter break or summer vacation, when we can kick back and relax from all the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Just the opposite! This is the time for us to "be about our Father's business," using the talents God has given us to do the work of His kingdom.
Sounds good, but what does it really mean? After all, most of us are just ordinary people, living our lives in "ordinary time." As for our so-called talents, they don't seem like anything special. What possible use could the
God of the Universe have for them, or for us?
Which brings us to our heroine, Esther. A perfectly ordinary girl.
You're probably thinking, Wait a minute! Esther was a queen! That's true, she was--but she won that title in a sort of beauty contest, not through any gifts or merit. She had no prominent family connections; in fact, she was an orphan. She was not a "Royal"; on the contrary, she was, secretly, a Jew, a conquered people subject to Persian rule. And she was a woman, in a time and place where females had little or no authority.
Esther was ordinary. And yet God used her to save the Jewish people from annihilation.
God uses all kinds of people to do His work: shepherds and soldiers, fishermen and physicians, tent makers and tax collectors, carpenters--even queens. It's amazing what extraordinary things God can do through ordinary people like us!