The calendar tells me that it’s Ordinary Time. The green of my garden glimpsed through the blinds of my studio window, and my weaving confirm this. But the time does not feel ordinary.
The news tells us that these times are anything but ordinary. It tells us that this week, things were said that should not have been - should never be - said. This is not normal, we are told. And that is true. But I am determined not to be discouraged.
So I go to the loom. I put on some vintage Peter, Paul and Mary to weave to. “No Easy Walk to Freedom,” they sing. Oh so true!
“Keep on walkin' and we shall be free
That's how we're gonna make history”
But then, beautiful voice of Peter Yarrow sadly sings:
“If we don't stop there'll come a time when women
With barren wombs will bitterly rejoice,
With breasts that dry and never fill with promise,
Gladly they'll not suckle one more life.” *
“If we do these things in the greenwood,
What will happen in the dry?”
By coincidence (if you believe in that sort of thing), this was part of the text of my Bible study last Monday night. This is Jesus’ last prophecy - spoken literally on the way to his death, to the cross.**
It is not hard to imagine what happens in the dry - not when you live in California. Nor is it hard for a student of history to remember some of the many times in the last 2000 years or so, when things were so bad that childless women were relieved that they had no children to suffer. Starting with the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, right up to, well, some places in the world today. In this way, perhaps, these times are all too ordinary.
Ordinary / Part II
The iPod moves seamlessly from one album to another. And the beautiful, hopeful voice of Noel Paul Stokey sings:
“But for the love of it all
I would go anywhere.
To the ends of the earth,
What is it worth if Love would be there?
Walking the thin line between fear and the call
One learns to bend and finally depend
On the Love of it all” ***
So perhaps the lesson is this: the most ordinary of times are the ones where hope and despair live side by side, moment by moment.
“For the love of it all
We are gathered by grace.
We have followed our hearts
To take up our parts
In this time and place.
Hands for the harvest,
Hear the centuries call:
It is still not to late to come celebrate
The Love of it all.”
* ”Greenwood” Peter Yarrow, 1972
** Luke 23:28-30
*** ”For the Love of It All” Noel Paul Stookey, 1991