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The Congregational Church of West Medford is now doing business as Sanctuary UCC.

Sing (and Dance) a New Song—In Ordinary Time

O sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth.
Sing to the LORD, bless God’s name; tell of God’s salvation from day to day. —Psalm 96:1-2


Welcome to Ordinary Time!  That sounds almost laughable doesn’t it? Our times (and our lives) are anything but ordinary.  I am reminded of a saying I have heard from my friends in AA, “The only normal I know is the cycle on my washing machine!”

Nonetheless, the liturgical season of the church has shifted from the burning-with-Spirit-and-passion, fiery red of Pentecost to the long, green, growth oriented season of Ordinary Time (aka: The Season after Pentecost).  One writer likens this to the fiery birth of the Big Bang and the growth that came after.   In fact, Ordinary Time is with the ordinary time that sustains us through November until the church year begins anew with Advent.

This Sunday’s readings include Psalm 96 and the presumption that “God gives the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:6) is included in this ‘song’ of joy and praise to God as creator, as a God who desires our songs and our stories, and who desires our understanding that God is the foundation of all that we have and enjoy.  Since we have entered a time of growth—I suggest we take the psalmist literally and make it an ordinary practice to learn ‘new songs’ to sing and ‘new dances’ to make a part of our repertoire.  And I do mean this both literally and figuratively.  As we prepare to discern our future as a congregation through the “Crossroads: A New Beginning Process” let’s make a personal and congregational commitment to singing new songs and dancing new dances!  Here are a few questions we can ask ourselves as we get ready to have the bigger conversation about the future of our church

  • How might we more deeply express our thanks for the gifts of our world?
  • How might we witness to that gratitude in the world outside of our private prayer and sanctuary?
  • Are there ‘new songs’ (and spiritual practices) we can learn that will praise God in a new way?
  • Can we find new ways of being people of faith that will better carry the Gospel message to those who need to hear it?  Especially the people who are not here yet?
  • By choosing something new, might we realize how dangerously comfortable we are with our patterns and habits: our favorite Bible verses, our favorite place to sit in church, our favorite hymns, our favorite way to pray?

National Dance Company WalesYes, favorites ground us and center us; but sometimes they hold us in place when, really, the Spirit is asking us to dance.   Beloved, the Spirit is asking us to dance…so let’s find some new rhythms and get out there and boogie.

God will order our steps, and She totally needs our chorus of grace!  Who said anything about being ordinary? I say we are extra-ordinary for we are God’s beloved!

With Pentecostal fire and prayer that the Holy Spirit bless us,
Rev. Wendy Miller Olapade—Email:

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