May 30, 2010
Trinity Sunday (C)
Romans 5:1-5

In speaking of Ordinary Time, one Web site says, “Rather than meaning common or mundane, this term comes from the word ordinal, which simply means counted time.” Another says, “…others suggest the etymology of Ordinary Time is related to the English word ordinary, which itself has a connotation of time and order, derived from the Latin word ordo.” In either case, counting time still sounds ordinary.

There are strong seasons in the church year: Advent, Christmas, Lent, Holy Week, Easter and Pentecost. This isn’t one of them. Trinity Sunday marks the beginning of ordinary time, the season between seasons. These Sundays remind us of a simple truth—most time is ordinary time, neither crisis nor climax, tragedy nor comedy, just ordinary.

In today’s text, Paul teaches us the Triune God has made provision not only for the crisis moments of life, but for the mundane, daily grind of the marathon we call life. We come away from today’s text knowing: God turns ordinary life into extraordinary living.

The structure of the Book of Romans underscores the significance of this text. In the first three chapters, Paul underlined the simple truth: “We’re all sinners and condemned.” Before he gets to the powerful rebuttal of Romans 8: “There is now therefore no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus,” he reports the actions of the grandson of Abraham, the likeness of Adam, who is going to resolve our predicament and change our destiny.

We are reminded that in the midst of the mundane:

I. Through Christ, we can experience peace with God (Romans 5:1).
Our sin has alienated us from God (Acts 2:23), and all our human effort never will be sufficient to restore that broken relationship. Paul implies there isn’t enough remnant of goodness in any one of us to produce righteousness. It must be something given directly to us, created as it were “out of nothing” (Romans 4:17).

It’s easy in the ordinary day-by-day experience of life to forget the crisis moment of our conversion. As we live counting the days, we sometimes take for granted that we no longer are alienated from God. Instead, anytime, anywhere, we can speak with God and enjoy His companionship. We don’t have to wait until the Sundays of ordinary time to worship, pray, encounter Scripture or give.

We are reminded that in the midst of the mundane:

II. Through Christ, we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God (Acts 5:2).
The Psalmist said, “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” After rehearsing the providential care of the Lord, worship was the only fitting response. No matter what the day before might have brought or what tomorrow might bring, today (as everyday) belongs to God and He deserves worship.

To trace the word glory (doxa) in the New Testament would point the reader to the presence of God. It’s the word of choice for referring to kabod in the Old Testament.  That glory (Shekinah) that stood above the Tabernacle and settled on the mercy seat is God’s presence. To “hope in the glory of God” is to be assured the gap between us and God is closed forever.

To arise each day (no matter which day this one is…the 10th, the 90th, the 182nd) with that hope, that promise, is to turn ordinary life into extraordinary living.

We are reminded that in the midst of the mundane:

III. Through the Holy Spirit, we can experience the love of God (Romans 5:3-5).
As seen the recent blockbuster The Blind Side, Sean and Leigh Anne Touhy demonstrated extraordinary love in taking in homeless teen Michael Oher. As they openly gave of themselves to Michael, he experienced transformation from a quiet underachiever to an NFL lineman (Baltimore Ravens). Their love enabled him to see adversity turn to strength, perseverance to character, despair to hope.

That’s what God does for us. Through His Holy Spirit, given by the Father through the Son, God takes the ordinary events of life and uses them to shape us into people with character, strength and hope. He shows us that ordinary time is never merely ordinary, but is God’s opportunity to be extraordinary.

Even as “ordinary time”—post-Easter/Pentecost celebrations—settles in, let’s not settle for ordinary life. Let’s make ourselves available to God, that through Christ He might turn ordinary life into extraordinary living.

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