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Assembly Title

Submitted by
J. Bloomfield

Age Group

Faith Group
Broad Christian

Time of Year

What a fantastic month May is! This year we have emerged from a cold winter and a long cold Spring into a month in which the countryside has exploded with colour. From the daffodils onwards, which managed to get themselves ready to flower under several inches of snow, we have had a continuous build up of colour. The trees and hedges stayed dark and black for so long this year but in the last two or three weeks it is as if a drab, worn-out old coat has been replaced with a dreamcoat of many colours, as if the countryside is going off to a rather smart wedding.

The crops have burst out of the soil in the fields, flowering cherries have turned pink, red and white, the Magnolias turned into a thousand-branched candelabra and the hedges have turned white as the Hawthorn flowers come out. In fact traditionally, the Hawthorn is just simply called ‘May’. Elsewhere there is yellow Forsythia, fresh bright green leaves and bluebells in the woods.

Interestingly no other month begins or ends on the same day of the week as May in any year. The month May was named after the Greek goddess Maia, whose festival was held in May.

We have just had a long weekend with a Bank Holiday attached to it. This was to mark May Day. This has nothing to do with the distress call from a sinking ship which comes from venez m'aider, or ‘Come and Help Me!’ May Day was a pre-Christian celebration of Spring, with dancing around the Maypole and the crowning of a May Queen. For once this year the Bank Holiday was sunny and warm and all weekend the country had a rather festive atmosphere as people felt able to spend time outside without feeling cold and miserable. In Oxford, choristers sang at dawn on the top of the church tower, there was plenty of Morris Dancing round the country, twenty-thousand motorbikes drove from London to Hastings for the May Day Run and all over the world different countries celebrate the changing seasons.

As we move on through the month, special days continue.  Although today is in fact Ascension Day, when Jesus ascended from the Mount of Olives into heaven forty days after Easter, it is now officially recognised next Sunday.  It is officially the end of Easter and this Paschal Candle will be lit for the last time.

Ascension Day is another good excuse for celebration, and it often involves climbing a mountain, and birds are the main symbols of ascension day.  In Italy children collect crickets, and in  Venice, an ancient naval superpower, the marriage of the city with the sea is celebrated by the throwing into the lagoon of a wedding ring.

May is also the month for the celebration of VE day.  This marks the day when the surrender of Nazi Germany was accepted, and thus World War Two ended in Europe. In many European countries this is the day of greatest celebration in May, as Europe emerged from six long years of darkness and horror.

The festive atmosphere of May continues with Whitsun weekend. Also known as Pentecost, this Bank Holiday weekend also marks an important biblical event when the disciples received the Holy Spirit. For us, this Bank Holiday falls during Half Term. Thereafter the year wears on into June and the Summer proper. It is a month with the odd mixture of camps and exams. Let’s hope that this year the British Summer is a bit better than last, when the cricket square played host more often to ducks than the First X11

Let us pray. (WAIT)

A Summer Prayer

Long warm days...

The pace of life slows...

A time for picnics and rest in the shade...

Lord, help me to rest awhile

in the cooling shade of your presence.

Slow down my restless heart and fill me

with gentle compassion for all your people.  


We will now sing hymn number 

S. Daly 2000

Last updated 11-5-13