What do “Kokomo” and Ordinary Time have in common?
Has the newness and excitement of summer begun to fade and boredom begun to set in now that the really hot days of summer are here? If so, you are not alone.
Unfortunately boredom is not something many of us do well. We are doers. We run around going here and there, getting this and that done; experiencing the latest restaurants, movies and sports; taking vacations, remodeling, and shopping. We want excitement. This is not only true in our personal life but in our work life, as well.
Statistics show the median time both wage and salary workers stay with their employers is 4.6 years. Job hoppers often move on because their current job is now boring and doesn’t offer the challenge or excitement it once did. The work place can perpetuate this behavior believing job hoppers are real go-getters! Yet Forbes Magazine said they disagree with this current philosophy. In short, their take is that this constant moving does not allow you to grow and mature in a position and company which can leads to stability, self-awareness, and becoming one who is trustworthy and wise.
The stability Forbes describes is what Ordinary Time is about. You may have noticed the altar colors changed the last Sunday in May to green as prescribed by our Liturgical calendar. The green color is used during Ordinary Time to reflect growth. During Ordinary Time we focus on the life of the Church as it grows in the midst of the world; an intentional time when we as individuals and as a body of believers grow in the knowledge and likeness of Christ, where His mission becomes our own daily mission.
Christ is to be our tuning fork. This past Sunday the reading from Amos offered the analogy of the Lord as the one who sets the plumb line for His people.
As I reflect back on all we as a church have celebrated over the last 6 months: the Incarnation, Transfiguration, Ash Wednesday, Lent, Easter and Pentecost. We are now being asked to slow down for six months as we walk through Ordinary Time. There’s no real excitement or celebrations and so this time, like the dog-days of summer or a stale job, can lull Christians into boredom or apathy as the time slips by. So how can we reframe this time?
One of my favorite songs by the Beach Boys is their 1989 classic “Kokomo.” In that toe-tapping, hip-swinging song the refrain sings, “I want to take you down to Kokomo, we’ll get there fast and then we’ll take it slow. That’s where we want to go, way down in Kokomo.”
This fictional place in the Florida Keys is where we are now! And what a grand place to be! A place of rest, reflection, refreshment, renewal, and should I dare say a fifth alliteration…RESTORATTION! All of which lead to spiritual growth if we allow it.
We all need down time. The Lord wants to gift us with rest. God models rest and demands us to take rest. Ordinary Time is a respite, a time to stop the busyness of our lives so we can in the end live more steadfast, joyful, and fruitful lives for Him.
As a gardener, I realize there is a cycle to observe: a time for planting, germination and the initial growth that blooms into a crescendo of beauty, just as we had with Christmas right through Pentecost. But after the plant peaks, gardeners needs to dead-head the flowers, trim branches, and propagate the plants while they rest. It’s not exciting some even think it is boring but it needs to happen if the garden is to continue to flourish. It is during this time of rest that pruning takes place. The same is true of the church, as we rest and reflect during these down months God is working to refresh, restore ,and renew His people so we may flourish!
Let us learn together how to become more self-aware, realizing who God has created us to be. Let Him become our tuning fork as we learn to make beautiful music with Him.
And may I make a suggestion? Maybe one step can be to slow down enough on Tuesdays to partake in our Facebook Morning Prayer gatherings, as we come together as a church to worship God, allow His Word to work on our hearts, pray for the people, and grow in His fruitfulness together.
I invite you to come and enjoy Kokomo with me!