Such is Everard Bone’s description of Ordinary Time in Excellent Women. As Trinity Sunday slips away and we look to that gaping expanse of 26 Sundays, we’re inclined to agree. The vestments are green, the vide aquam disappears, we sing St Patrick’s Breastplate and generally it sticks like a well-beloved liturgical ear worm and we confuse the neighbours by drifting around singing it.
The problem, of course, is hardly the green. It’s that everything drifts for a bit.Think of the flatness that comes so inevitably after a holiday, and that’s what Ordinary time is to us. We’ve had holidays in spades of late. The whole protracted Eastertide with its frills and ornamentations, Pentecost with its tongues of fire and rich reds on the altar.
That was last Sunday, and we think its understandable why we’re sorry to see the red go, though the side-chapel even now holds its own rather well.
The nice thing about the spikiness of this church though –and we say that from a place of deep affection –is that we find a way to fill that time. There’s evensongs and saints’ days and lots of smaller scale occasions to make much of. Besides, we haven’t had Corpus Christi yet, and the new rector is resolved that we welcome Ordinary Time in with real pomp and circumstance. This will, inevitably involve a Benediction, and we’ll all say a prayer in the choir vestry beforehand that this time it comes out right, but we’ll enjoy it to.
We’re also anticipating, it turns out, a stoup for holy water and votive candles. Proof that we don’t always bolt in the other direction when confronted with change. We were in fact ridiculously pleased by this development, much to the bemusement of our choral scholar. We can’t help it; we’re cut from the same cloth as the rector, resolutely and unapologetically high church, and possibly we belong in a Barbara Pym novel.
We’re saying too a crossed-fingers sort of prayer that Sumsion in F stays the Mass setting until Christ the King Sunday. It’s good, singable, and might just make those 26 Ordinary Sundays a bit less flat and endless.