Ordinary Time is the part of the liturgical calendar that falls outside the major seasons such as Advent, Epiphany, Lent, and Easter. Ordinary time begins with the passing of the Day of Pentecost and continues until the First Sunday of Advent, and is the longest season of the church year.
While the term is used by the Catholic Church, The Episcopal Church doesn’t typically use the phrase “Ordinary Time” and it is nowhere to be found in The Book of Common Prayer. Rather, these Sundays are named in relation to the previous feast day, for example, “The Eighth Sunday after Pentecost.”
The term ordinary may be derived from “ordinal,” which means “counted,” though this is disputed. It may simply mean ordinary.
This isn’t necessarily negative. It’s simply the time of the year when we are not commemorating the major events in the life of Jesus—such as his birth, death, and resurrection—but rather the things he said and did throughout his time on earth.
Most of the days of our lives are ordinary, of course—no birth or death, no epiphanies or miracles, time filled with the ordinary love and hope and fear common to daily life.
The liturgical color of this season is green, which is why it is sometimes called “the green season.” Green often symbolizes growth. During this season, the church delves deeper into scripture and the life of Jesus. We read his parables and remember how he changed the lives of everyone he interacted with, in ways big and small. This is a time when we explore what it means to live daily in faith, a time of growth as we explore everyday sacredness.