In the northern hemisphere, the summer solstice — the longest daylight day of the year — happens in ordinary time. There are times in the Christian calendar that signify specific aspects of the mystery of Christ. Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany celebrate the birth of the Christ child and the visit and gifts of the magi. The time from Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, through Easter and on to Pentecost celebrates the temptation, death, and resurrection of Jesus, then the coming of Holy Spirit to dwell with and within humankind. Ordinary time is the space between Epiphany and Lent, between Pentecost and Advent. This is usually between the end of May, or the beginning of June, until December.
So the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere saunters into our lives with no muss, no fuss, each day giving a little of its daylight back to the cosmos until the winter solstice arrives with the promise of longer daylight days.
The birds have been singing since spring. And to my untutored ear, the various tweets, chirps, piping, squeaks, and squawks together make a beautiful cacophony of anonymous nature that reminds me that there is a wondrous world beyond the banality of human affairs. A bird’s nest on the patio has been occupied for weeks. We watched the parents sitting on the eggs; then one day there were baby birds peeking over the edges. They are a family of robins who are our most immediate neighbors. Mulberry stains in the birdbath remind me of nature’s provision for her own. Birdsong and bird family and mulberries are ordinary.
The summer solstice comes when the summer garden is already planted: Basil, rosemary, thyme, peppermint, oregano in one box with cabbage; big boy tomatoes and cherry tomatoes along with cucumbers in another box; turnips, Swiss chard, and romaine lettuce in a third; and marigolds in all three. The summer garden is ordinary.
Sitting on my patio, a hot afternoon summer solstice sun makes me feel at once stronger and relaxed. A gentle summer wind plays a soothing tune on the wind chimes. Yesterday, a cloudless blue sky was a ceiling for my day dreams. Today, a hot sun plays hide and seek with fat clouds, white on the sun side, light grey on the earth side. As soon as my skin starts to feel too hot, a cool cloud drifts by. I know that there will be days when thunder and lightning and rough winds will remind me of the fierce nature of nature. Sun and sky and clouds and thunder and lightning and wind are ordinary.
Cool wet morning grass, a carpet for bare feet, is ordinary. Small strawberries bursting with sweet juice picked fresh from the patch on the back yard’s south side are ordinary. Children playing, the neighbor waving, the hum of lawn mowers and air conditioners are ordinary. This peace in my back yard is ordinary.
Ordinary time is the time to celebrate the mysteries of Christ in all its aspects. The Christ consciousness is awareness of an anointing of Divine Love in ordinary life. It is Divine Love incarnate in humanity and in all of creation. The mysteries of Christ in all of its aspects is the example of the life of Christ, the compassion of Christ, the radical love of Christ that is available to all no matter their religious tradition or no religious tradition. It is a moral intent of living lives of sustenance and joy represented by the bread and wine of communion. Trust and believe in Divine Love. We can see, hear, taste, touch, and know the sublime when we take a moment to become aware of its existence.
This afternoon I sat outside in the summer solstice sun thinking of ordinary things. Later in the longest daylight day of the year, I lingered in the lingering twilight watching the random magic of fireflies. And, I am mindful of the holiness of ordinariness and I am grateful for a blessed peace that exists at this moment in my own back yard. The summer solstice is the longest daylight day to be aware of Infinite, Eternal, Absolute Love.