“How Do You Count”
By Pastor Jerry Donovan
This article is directed at my Christian brothers and sisters. How do you count? Count what? Count the days; mark the passing of time. Does that seem like an odd question? Our church uses the Christian calendar based on the lectionary scriptures of the Bible. It divides the year into different seasons such as Lent, Easter, Advent, and Christmas. We are entering the longest season on the Christian calendar. Some call it Ordinary Time, and some call it the Season after Pentecost. So, this week is either the Second Sunday of Ordinary Time or the Second Sunday after Pentecost.
One of the things that “season after Pentecost” can do is remind us that we are walking in the power of the Spirit. We are the church empowered, equipped, and sent by the God we worship and the Christ we offer. By counting the days, or the weeks, all season long, from spring through summer into fall, we are saying we have a mission, we have a purpose. We don’t just gather to worship for ourselves. We aren’t just about taking care of our own souls. We are being shaped; we are practicing how to offer Christ to the world. The songs we sing with one another to God in worship are the songs we sing to the world. The prayers we pray to God with one another are the prayers we pray on behalf of the world. The testimonies we rehearse in worship together are the stories we tell in our communities and neighborhoods and world.
By counting the days, we are reminded this matters. It is a part of God’s purpose in the world. We are part of God’s purpose in the world. So, our worship task is to bring the world into worship, to be reminded that we are preparing to be a part of what God is doing, already doing, in the world around us. How might we see our neighborhood, our community? What do you see next door to you? Who are the people around us? Do they all look like us? Do they all live like us?
This isn’t about putting down our community, making us feel sorry for them, or secretly glad for us. This is about seeing what is really there. We are sometimes so wrapped up in our church bubble that we don’t even see what is all around us. We don’t see what God is doing in the lives of those who don’t know God’s name. God sees them; we can too.
Sing the songs of the world, not just the church. Remind ourselves that we are looking outward, not just inward. This isn’t a call to neglect the body of the church because we’re a part of the world too. But it is a call to remember that we aren’t the whole world. And it’s the whole world that God has in hand, not just our part of it.
So, how do you count? The point is the days count. Let’s make them count by paying attention to the world around us, the world in which God is at work. Ordinary Time isn’t about being ordinary. It’s about being counted. These days matter. Let’s make them matter by practicing seeing the world in which we live, the world God loves enough to die for.
How will we count?