Contribution from St Mary the Virgin to the Buxted Messenger – June 2021 Edition

In my contribution to the Messenger in April, with lockdown just beginning to ease and the celebration of Easter, these things seemed like a merciful release from the dark days of winter, quite literally, when we were dealing with the awful impacts of the third wave of Covid in our communities and country.
Now in June, we are approaching, through the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, potentially the removal of many of the restrictions that up to now have kept us as safe as we can be. So many have been vaccinated, some fully, for which we are truly grateful. But with the clamour to get back to normal, many of us are feeling uncertain, a little anxious, about how to be and what to do. We aren’t even sure what normal feels like any more.
Be assured that since the return to public worship at St Mary’s and across the Parish, we are strenuously complying with up to date government and Diocesan guidelines.
But the impacts on our mental well being of the last year and more should not be shuffled under the carpet, ignored or disregarded. In our church and Parish we look to make time to speak to one another; if you reach out someone will listen, in confidence, to your cares and concerns. And this is an active listening, one which means that it can result in doing things for each other, so that our care and concern is demonstrated by action as much as by word. And we can pray for one another, again being open to what God leads us to do, to be the means by which he works in this world to alleviate the concerns and suffering of one another.
God often speaks to calm our anxieties in the bible. In John 14, Jesus spoke to his disciples of the time when he would no longer be with them in person. He reassured them and us all that we are not left alone. And in so doing he said (v27): Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. Jesus wasn’t saying that as his people life for us would be easy or free from trouble or anxiety. But the love and grace of Jesus and the comfort of the Holy Spirit, equip us to face up to the things we most fear and to know the deep peace which he offers to us all.
Deep peace of the running wave to you
Deep peace of the flowing air to you
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you
Deep peace of the shining stars to you
Deep peace of the gentle night to you
Moon and stars pour their healing light on you
Deep peace of Christ the light of the world to you
Deep peace of Christ to you

NEWS FROM S. MARY’S

Welcome to Mary’s month of May. The month when everything in the countryside, and of course our gardens, bursts into colour. Life in the hedgerows is beginning to awaken from the long winter months, and the birds are returning from their winter break in Africa – my swallows arrived on 4th April (Easter Day) and flew straight into the nest they made four years ago. The trees are in bud and gradually turning green, and this spring the flowers are looking splendid.

For over 700 years, the month of May has been dedicated to Mary, and we join with her in celebration of the glorious Resurrection of Christ. Traditionally, Mary is honoured as the ‘Queen of May’, and throughout the western world parishes have often crowned an image of the Blessed Virgin Mary with flowers (often Hawthorn also called May Blossom or Spring Rose). This ceremonial crowning is to signify her as ‘Queen of Heaven’ and the ‘Mother of God Incarnate’. Although this practice lapsed in the 1970’s, it is now making a comeback. We look forward to its return here at S. Mary’s. Between Easter and Pentecost we sing the Regina Caeli (Queen of Heaven):
(sung to the tune of ‘Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia)

Joy to thee, O Queen of Heaven, Alleluia!
He whom thou wast meet to bear, Alleluia!
As he promised hath arisen, Alleluia!
Pour for us to God thy prayer, Alleluia!

There are many celebrations throughout May, one of the most important is the great Feast of Pentecost – 23rd May (the birthday of the Church). Pentecost means the fiftieth day, which represents the fifty days of Easter. In the Acts of the Apostles 2: 1-11 the disciples were huddled in the upper room, afraid of the Jews and terrified of the unknown. At the Last Supper Jesus told the apostles that he was leaving them. He said, “It is for your own good that I go away, because unless I go, the Spirit will not come to you, but if I go I will send him to you.” Jesus had to go – it was important that he left his apostles to carry on without him. Only when the Holy Spirit came upon them are they transformed from ordinary people into fearless missionaries.

A prayer for Pentecost: Breathe in me, Holy Spirit, that I may think what is holy. Move me, Holy Spirit, that I may do what is holy. Attract me, Holy Spirit, that I may love what is holy. Strengthen me, Holy Spirit, that I may guard what is holy. Guard me, Holy Spirit, that I may keep what is holy.
(S. Augustine of Hippo – 354 – 430 AD)
Colin Woolgrove

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