The Church year revolves around two cycles:

  1. the Christmas cycle (Advent, Christmas, Epiphany)
  2. the Easter cycle (Lent, Holy Week, Easter, Pentecost)

But what about the rest of the year?

Well, there are two periods of the liturgical year that are called “ordinary time” that stitch together the Christmas and Easter cycles. One is the Season after Epiphany, and the other is the Season after Pentecost.

In this piece, we will focus on the Season after Pentecost.

What is “Ordinary Time”?

The Season after Pentecost lasts from the Monday after Pentecost Sunday until the Saturday before the First Sunday of Advent. The first Sunday of this season is Trinity Sunday, and the last Sunday is Christ the King Sunday.

The Season after Pentecost is also known as “Ordinary Time.” And, if you’re like me, you might hear “ordinary time” as “boring time.” But that’s not the case!

The word “ordinary” most likely means “numbered” here (think ordinal numbers), because the Sundays of Ordinary Time are numbered. Here’s how the 2019 ACNA BCP introduces the Season after Pentecost:

The Easter Season includes and ends with the Day of Pentecost. The First Sunday after Pentecost is Trinity Sunday. All subsequent Sundays have numbered propers and may be designated as “after Pentecost” or “after Trinity.”

So, the Sunday after Pentecost is always Trinity Sunday. On the Sunday after Trinity Sunday, we jump to a certain “Proper,” depending on the date.

  • “Proper 1” occurs on the Sunday that falls between May 8 and 14.
  • “Proper 2” between May 15 and 21.
  • “Proper 3” between May 22 and 28. And so on.

Note that, when you’re doing the Daily Office, you’re supposed to start using the Collects from these numbered Propers during the weeks of/after Pentecost Sunday and Trinity Sunday. If Pentecost Sunday falls between May 8 and 14, then you should use the Collect for Proper 1 on the Monday after Pentecost.

Now, because the date of Easter moves each year (and therefore the date of Pentecost, Easter + 50 days), some of the first Propers almost always end up getting skipped. (Incidentally, this is one of the reasons why the ACNA changed its Daily Office Lectionary to the civil calendar, to avoid readings getting skipped almost every year.)

The 1979 BCP gives a good explanation of what’s involved:

The Proper to be used on each of the Sundays after Pentecost (except for Trinity Sunday) is determined by the calendar date of that Sunday. Thus, in any year, the Proper for the Sunday after Trinity Sunday (the Second Sunday after Pentecost) is the numbered Proper (number 3 through number 8), the calendar date of which falls on that Sunday, or is closest to it, whether before or after. Thereafter, the Propers are used consecutively. For example, if the Sunday after Trinity Sunday is May 26, the sequence begins with Proper 3 (Propers 1 and 2 being used on the weekdays of Pentecost and Trinity weeks). If the Sunday after Trinity Sunday is June 13, the sequence begins with Proper 6 (Propers 1 through 3 being omitted that year, and Propers 4 and 5 being used in Pentecost and Trinity weeks). (p. 158)

Note that the 1979 BCP gives the date of the Propers in the form of “[Sunday] Closest to May 11.” The 2019 ACNA BCP gives you the possible date range: “May 8-14.”

This year (2019), after Trinity Sunday, we jump to Proper 7, because the Sunday will fall between June 19 and 25.

What do we do during Ordinary Time?

The liturgical color for Ordinary Time is green. During the Season after Pentecost, we focus on the life of the Church as it grows in the midst of the world.

Here’s how Robert Webber introduces Ordinary Time in The Services of the Christian Year (vol. 5 of The Complete Library of Christian Worship):

During this season, many worship traditions follow lectionaries that highlight the work of the Spirit in the mission of the church in the world. Other churches organize their worship life around a lectio continua, continuous readings from a given section of Scripture. Some worship traditions have also called this season “kingdomtide,” focusing on the kingdom of God that is present now and the one that will be realized in more profound ways in the future (457).

As Webber notes, one of the reasons why Ordinary Time is different from other liturgical seasons is that

the various Sundays are not connected by a particular theme. In Advent we await the coming of Christ; during Christmas, we celebrate his arrival; and at Epiphany, we proclaim that Christ is manifested to the world as Savior. During Lent, we prepare for the death; in Holy Week, we reenact his death;, then in Easter, we celebrate his resurrection and complete the Easter cycle with the celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit. But in the nonfestive season of the church year, there is no unified theme that ties the Sundays together (457).

The Season after Pentecost is for the Church to live out her vocation in the midst of the world, recalling that every Sunday is a celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I like the way that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops puts it:

Ordinary Time is a time for growth and maturation, a time in which the mystery of Christ is called to penetrate ever more deeply into history until all things are finally caught up in Christ. The goal, toward which all of history is directed, is represented by the final Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.

“Ordinary” Time might well refer to living out our “ordinary” lives as Christians. But, since we follow the risen Lord of the Universe, there’s nothing “ordinary” about it!

Collects and Collect Reflections for the Season After Pentecost

The following Collects are from the ACNA’s 2019 Book of Common Prayer. Clicking on the links in the titles will take you to a Collect Reflection post—a brief reflection written about the Collect for that week.

Trinity Sunday

Almighty and everlasting God, you have given to us your servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of your divine Majesty to worship the Unity: Keep us steadfast in this faith and worship, and bring us at last to see you in your one and eternal glory, O Father; who with the Son and the Holy Spirit live and reign, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Proper 1; Week of the Sunday from May 8 to May 14

O God, the strength of all who put their trust in you: Mercifully accept our prayers, and because, through the weakness of our mortal nature, we can do no good thing without you, grant us the help of your grace to keep your commandments, that we may please you in will and deed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Proper 2; Week of the Sunday from May 15 to May 21

O Lord, you never fail to support and govern those whom you bring up in your steadfast love and fear: Keep us, we pray, under your continual protection and providence, and give us a perpetual fear and love of your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Proper 3; Week of the Sunday from May 22 to May 28

O Lord, we entreat you mercifully to hear us, and grant that we, to whom you have given the desire to pray, may by your mighty aid be defended and comforted in all our adversities; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Proper 4; Week of the Sunday from May 29 to June 4

O God, the protector of all those who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us your mercy, that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal that we lose not the things eternal; grant this, heavenly Father, for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Proper 5; Week of the Sunday from June 5 to June 11

Grant, O Lord, that the course of this world may be so peaceably ordered by your providence, that your Church may joyfully serve you in quiet confidence and godly peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Proper 6; Week of the Sunday from June 12 to June 18

O Lord, from whom all good proceeds: Grant us the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may always think those things that are good, and by your merciful guidance may accomplish the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Proper 7; Week of the Sunday from June 19 to June 25

Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: Graft in our hearts the love of your Name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and bring forth in us the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Proper 8; Week of the Sunday from June 26 to July 2

O God, your never-failing providence sets in order all things both in heaven and on earth: Put away from us all hurtful things, and give us those things that are profitable for us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Proper 9; Week of the Sunday from July 3 to July 9

Grant us, O Lord, we pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that we, who can do no good thing apart from you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Proper 10; Week of the Sunday from July 10 to July 16

Let your merciful ears, O Lord, be open to the prayers of your humble servants; and, that we may receive what we ask, teach us by your Holy Spirit to ask only those things that are pleasing to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the same Spirit lives and reigns for ever and ever.  Amen.

Proper 11; Week of the Sunday from July 17 to July 23

O God, you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity: Grant us the fullness of your grace, that we, running to obtain your promises, may become partakers of your heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Proper 12; Week of the Sunday from July 24 to July 30

Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve: Pour down upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Proper 13; Week of the Sunday from July 31 to August 6

Almighty and merciful God, it is only by your grace that your faithful people offer you true and laudable service: Grant that we may run without stumbling to obtain your heavenly promises; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Proper 14; Week of the Sunday from August 7 to August 13

Almighty God, give us the increase of faith, hope, and love; and, that we may obtain what you have promised, make us love what you command; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Proper 15; Week of the Sunday from August 14 to August 20

Keep your Church, O Lord, by your perpetual mercy; and because without you the frailty of our nature causes us to fall, keep us from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable for our salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Proper 16; Week of the Sunday from August 21 to August 27

Let your continual mercy, O Lord, cleanse and defend your Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without your help, protect and govern it always by your goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Proper 17; Week of the Sunday from August 28 to September 3

O Lord, we pray that your grace may always precede and follow after us, that we may continually be given to good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Proper 18; Week of the Sunday from September 4 to September 10

O Lord God, grant your people grace to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil, and with pure hearts and minds to follow you, the only God; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Proper 19; Week of the Sunday from September 11 to September 17

O God, because without you we are not able to please you, mercifully grant that your Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after September 14 are the traditional autumn Ember Days.

Proper 20; Week of the Sunday from September 18 to September 24

O Lord, you have taught us that without love, all our deeds are worth nothing: Send your Holy Spirit and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of charity, the true bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whoever lives is counted dead before you; grant this for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

(Previously, the Collect for this week read: “Almighty and merciful God, in your goodness keep us, we pray, from all things that may hurt us, that we, being ready both in mind and body, may accomplish with joyful hearts those things which belong to your purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.”)

Proper 21; Week of the Sunday from September 25 to October 1

O merciful Lord, grant to your faithful people pardon and peace, that we may be cleansed from all our sins and serve you with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Proper 22; Week of the Sunday from October 2 to October 8

Keep, O Lord, your household the Church in continual godliness, that through your protection it may be free from all adversities, and devoutly serve you in good works, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Proper 23; Week of theSunday from October 9 to October 15

O God, our refuge and strength, true source of all godliness: Graciously hear the devout prayers of your Church, and grant that those things which we ask faithfully, we may obtain effectually; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Proper 24; Week of the Sunday from October 16 to October 22

Set us free, loving Father, from the bondage of our sins, and in your goodness and mercy give us the liberty of that abundant life which you have made known to us in our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Proper 25; Week of the Sunday from October 23 to October 29

Almighty and everlasting God, you govern all things both in heaven and on earth: Mercifully hear the supplications of your people, and in our time grant us your peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

All Saints’ Day; November 1

Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical Body of your Son: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting.  Amen.

Proper 26; Week of the Sunday from October 30 to November 5

Grant us, Lord, not to be anxious about earthly things, but to love things heavenly; and even now, as we live among things that are passing away, to hold fast to those that shall endure; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Proper 27; Week of the Sunday from November 6 to November 12

O God, whose blessed Son came into the world that he might destroy the works of the devil and make us children of God and heirs of eternal life: Grant that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves as he is pure; that, when he comes again with power and great glory, we may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Proper 28; Week of the Sunday from November 13 to November 19

Stir up, O Lord, the wills of your faithful people, that bringing forth in abundance the fruit of good works, they may be abundantly rewarded when our Savior Jesus Christ comes to restore all things; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Proper 29; Week of the Sunday from November 20 to November 26; Christ the King

Almighty and everlasting God, whose will it is to restore all things in your well-beloved Son, the King of kings and Lord of lords: Mercifully grant that the peoples of the earth, divided and enslaved by sin, may be freed and brought together under his most gracious rule; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Did I leave anything out?

If there’s something else you’d like to see mentioned in this introductory guide to the Season after Pentecost, please let me know in the comments below!