May 2021

Now is the month of Maying,
When merry lads are playing, Fa la la.
Each with his bonny lass
Upon the greeny grass, Fa la la.

Thomas Morley wrote this madrigal in 1595 (maybe even in May 1595?) and it has appeal even in 2021 as the coming of May seems to lift our spirits. After all, do not March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers (at least in the northern hemisphere)? So, a lot to cheer us up, even if fa la la-ing about it and frolicking on the greeny grass are not your style.

Historically, there is plenty to celebrate in May: the four minute mile (6th, 1954), Amy Johnson flying solo to Australia (5th, 1930), Hilary and Tenzing climbing Everest (29th, 1953) and other things too.

But in church the big event of the month is Confirmations and admission to Communion (2nd) presided over by Bishop Richard. We think of and support all the young people involved. It is hoped to share the service via Zoom so that those who cannot attend in person will be able to enjoy the experience.

Then comes Ascension Day, the first church event I remember (a very long walk) in my church school career. This year it’s on the 13th, marking as always Jesus’ ascent into heaven when He promised that His followers would soon receive the Holy Spirit.

Talking about receiving, many of our church family will have received a coronavirus injection this month. Spare a thought on 17th May for the birth of Edward Jenner (1749) who eventually discovered the importance of vaccination against smallpox (and to my non-medical mind the importance of vaccination full stop).

In the church May normally brings Pentecost (23rd), often called ‘the birthday of the church’.

It was in May also (24th) that John Wesley underwent his conversion experience; he said he felt his “heart was strangely moved” and from that time on set about his great travels around the country preaching and teaching the Word of God, declaring that he regarded the world as his parish so that all people might have the experience he had enjoyed in 1738. We pray that our confirmation candidates will also feel God moving in their lives.

So plenty to be happy about as Morley reminds us

The Spring, clad all in gladness,
Doth laugh at Winter’s sadness, Fa la la.
And to the bagpipe’s sound
The nymphs tread out their ground, Fa la la

May we all experience Pentecost re-birth and feel like frolicking, even if, as Anglicans, our gambolling will be appropriately restrained.

Fa la la to you.

Colin Dixon

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