This Sunday is the first Sunday of Ordinary Time in the Church year. So, after the season of Lent, when we had purple drapes in the sanctuary; and Easter, when we had white and gold drapes; and Pentecost, when we had red; now we have green.
“Ordinary Time” does not mean unimportant or insignificant, which might be what many people think of—but it what it means to those of us who follow in the steps of all the saints before us is that we follow a pattern. The pattern by which we ORDER our days. Order our lives. It is the largest season of the church year. It is called “ordinary” not because it is common, but because the weeks of Ordinary Time are numbered. The Latin word ordinalis, which refers to numbers in a series, stems from the Latin word ordo, from which we get the English word order. Thus, the numbered weeks of Ordinary Time in fact represent the ordered life of the Church—the period in which we live our lives neither in feasting (as in the Christmas and Easter seasons), nor in more severe penance (as in Advent and Lent), but in watchfulness and expectation of the Second Coming of Christ.
This Sunday as we read our Scripture in Genesis 1, we see the beautiful rhythm of God’s Creation and think about how we live within that rhythm when we live well, and when we break that rhythm how our lives are out of God’s order.
A water ceremony was held each day during the Festival of Shelters, with prayer for God to send rain the late autumn. The final day, called “the great day,” was the climax of the festival, when the ceremony was repeated seven times. Water was poured over the altar as Levites sand Isaiah 12:3: With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.
Here, Jesus fulfilled as essential element in the Festival of Shelters. He himself is the source of living water, available to anyone who believes.
This morning, we are going to visit Acts 2:1-21, which is the rest of the story that we began last week in Acts 1:8. Pentecost was also called the “Festival of First Harvest,” and this is when our passage takes place. It was one of three major annual festivals, and when Jews observed these festivals, many would go to the Temple in Jerusalem. So . . . on the 3rd day of Pentecost, when the disciples were united and expectant as they gathered for prayer, the Holy Spirit came and filled the gathered believers.
Filled them to send them. As he is sending us.