~ Maytime ~
“May the Lord turn to face you, lavishing peace upon you.”
Dear Members and Friends,
Have you ever wondered why so many people get married in June? Yes, it’s got some of the year’s finest weather, not too rainy or hot—which makes it ideal for open air weddings, or ceremonies in old churches without air conditioning. But there’s a grittier reason for the long tradition of June weddings. Legend has it that medieval folk only bathed once a year, when the weather turned warm in May. By the time June rolled around, their annual bath was still pretty fresh, making it a good time to tie the knot. May is a season of renewal. Since ancient times, people in the Northern Hemisphere have felt the urge to celebrate “Maytime” or “Maytide” with festivals, dances, and maypoles. Pentecost is usually in May, and more recently Mother’s Day and Memorial Day have come about. (“Maytime” is an archaic word, but what other month ever got a suffix attached to its name? You could hardly say Octobertime or Februarytime.) It’s almost primal, this inborn desire to join with the awakening earth and blooming gardens to celebrate a bright season of greenery and sunlight.
May is special in my personal life, too. For one thing, May’s arrival means that I survived April—a month that has been trying to do me in for decades. (Don’t ask.) I got married in May. May was the start of our “long vacation” at the mission school in Cameroon. I spend hours and hours preparing the soil and planting our vegetable garden each May.
My kids don’t get out of school till June, but all the real learning and studying ends in May. To some folks, May 4 is known as Star Wars Day: “May the Fourth be with you.” Of course here at church, May is when people begin to drift away for the summer, and attendance dips to its post-Easter, pre-Advent levels.
All of this talk about May seems almost frivolous. But the point I’m trying to make is this: There are seasons of the year—and seasons of our lives—that seem especially filled with hope, potential, new possibilities, and opportunities for growth. Of course, we all experience those dim Novembers of the soul, too. But into every life and heart, the Month of May returns in due course, with its birdsong and its budding trees, promising us the joy of new beginnings.
The failed former English teacher in me also wants to insist that “May” is not just a month; it’s also an auxiliary verb, one that suggest possibilities and potential. “She may show up yet. I may just go along with you. Things may get better.” Thinking of it as a verb adds a whole new dimension to this notion of “Maytime.” In a sense, every season of your life is a Maytime—a time when you may change—a period ripe with new growth and new life, if you’d but notice and embrace it. In many ways, it is Maytime at Bower Hill Church. In what ways is it Maytime in your life? What new opportunities and prospects beckon to you?
Even as things at the church quiet down for the summer, I hope that you’ll continue to seek God’s presence in your life, and the fellowship of the church, and new ways to serve God and neighbor. May this Maytime be for you a real season of rest and reflection, potential and new life.
All Blessings to you in Christ,