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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Unsettled

Pentecost is the Louisiana summer of the liturgical calendar. Occupying roughly half the year, I sometimes wonder why we even bother calling it a season. Who can even keep track?

Twenty-four. That’s the number of Sundays after Pentecost this year. At some point in early July we will all settle in. Those of us who experienced a particularly cold and long winter will welcome the return of green plants and paraments. 

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We will mark time through our ordering of these weeks from Trinity Sunday and Christ the King Sunday. This is what we mean by “Ordinary Time,” not that it’s typical or common, but that it is ordered in this way. 

Still, in a way it’s unfortunate that Pentecost Day (June 8 this year) — that unruly, confusing and wildly new time of unsettledness — is followed up by the long haul of “the season after Pentecost.” 

How can the church sustain what the Spirit initiates on this day we call Pentecost? How can we get caught up with amazement and confusion?

I yearn for our church to find itself so Spirit-filled it must ask: “What does this mean?” I yearn for our church to be so bold in our proclamation that we might even get accused of drinking too early in the morning. How can we become not so much the settled church of Ordinary Time, but an unsettled church?  

Here’s the good news: our church today is unsettled.

May God teach us now what this means, may we have the humility to begin again, and may we find a way to mark our time in faithful amazement and confusion. Because this very well may be our new normal, ordinary time.


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