(First Published in 'Three Voices - One Message', the Parish Magazine of Barrow upon Humber, Goxhill and New Holland in North Lincolnshire, May 2018)
“At last came the golden month of the wild folk - honey-sweet May, when the birds come back, and the flowers come out, and the air is full of the sunrise scents and songs of the dawning year;” so
writes the early 19th century author, Samuel Scoville Jr. in his classic novel, Wild Folk.
Your own idea of May might be something along similar lines. The month means many things to many people. For our pagan forebears, it was associated with the Greek goddess, Maia, a goddess of fertility. For many, it will simply be the delight of having two Bank Holiday Mondays to look forward to. For others, it will be the idea of a Royal Wedding that offers excitement.
Of course, within the Christian Church, we have many exciting things to anticipate. In the Roman Catholic Church, it is a month of celebrations in respect to the Virgin Mary, when she is crowned ‘Queen of May’. For Anglicans, May is a month that is dominated by the Spirit (naturally of the Holy kind). The first few weeks of May are the final weeks of Easter, with the 50th day of Easter, the 7th Sunday after Easter, falling on the 20th May. This day is also known as Pentecost; the day we commemorate the descent of the Holy Spirit on the Disciples after the ascension of Jesus into Heaven.
One week later, we have Trinity Sunday (27th May); the day we celebrate the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity – God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, that also being the day when clergy traditionally compete for the unbridled joy of trying to give a concise, unambiguous and heretically-free explanation of the doctrine from the pulpit. I suspect that my time will come…
Then, after Trinity Sunday, we enter a long period of Ordinary Time; that period in the Church calendar when we do not celebrate any particular aspect of the mystery of Christ, but when we are left ample time to ponder that mystery in all its glory, and to deepen our faith through prayer, worship, study and meditation.
Whether it be the sense of Spring vitality, national holidays, a Royal wedding, the wonder of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Trinity, or the contemplative freedom of Ordinary Time that gives a lift to you, may your month of May at least be a Blessed one.