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xvi. Signs and Wonders - Ordinariness


Mid-15c. derived from the Old French word ordinarie, from the Latin word ordinarius (regular, ordinary) and from the Latin word ordo (row, order, rank).

School Cleaner

You are a final note

on an intricate chord

of wires, brooms and bags

your vacuum cleaner

plays out

an everyday recessional

your work has the sanction

of ordinariness

and grace

your smile

is a seal of approval

on the stations of the school

you are a final blessing

and benediction

on the closing of the day.

Jeff Guess


One of my main concerns in writing is celebrating ‘ordinariness’. I have always been attracted to the commonplace: the ‘market square’ of living not the trivial or the ephemeral, but what it is to be human and what makes that special. Much of my writing takes everyday work as its central thesis; the daily rota of people’s lives. School is for me a microcosm of the broader world beyond, and it is in the ‘ordinary lives’ of my students that I often find much of the material and the stimulus for writing. They are central to my working day and its concerns and relationships, so at times I find in them the metaphors apposite to a wider as well as a more particular focus. It is often through them that I am able to articulate a particular anguish or joy, and in celebrating their lives I celebrate the world.


Opening Prayer for the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Father, You call your children to walk in the light of Christ. Free us from the darkness and keep us in the radiance of your truth. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.


(Ordinary Time is the liturgical period outside of the regular liturgical seasons. It falls immediately after Christmastide and then again after the Easter Season. These Ordinary Time prayers are varied in their themes).

Reading: St. Luke 21: 1-4

As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. ‘I tell you the truth’, he said, ‘this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.’ NIV

©Jeff Guess 2017

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