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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
us pray. (WAIT)
pace of life slows...
time for picnics and rest in the shade...
help me to rest awhile
the cooling shade of your presence.
down my restless heart and fill me
gentle compassion for all your people.
will now sing hymn number