Brothers and Sisters,
As I look out of the manse window, the weather has finally taken a turn for the better and even early in the morning, the sky is blue and clear. A friend has sent me a card to celebrate the May Bank Holiday which has bluebells and teddy-bears enjoying a picnic in the woods. I am reminded that this would once have been the Whitsun Bank Holiday there to celebrate Pentecost. In the north of England, there are still parades with all the church banners, and girls dressed in white and brass bands playing.
Until 1972 the coming of the Holy Spirit affected even our trading. Children, shop-keepers and bankers alike took the day off and this significant day in the life of the church was also woven into the fabric of the national life.
This season also marked picnics for many of us. There were more picnics in my youth when there were less options for eating outside in cafes, garden centres and the like. The idea of a pavement café culture was a Continental concept and growing up in the ‘70’s, we were hard-core picnickers. I am not the only one with memories of driving out with grandparents and picnicking in the car because the weather had turned. Tartan flasks with glass liners that had to be treated with great care held weak tea, and sandwiches, home-baked rice crispy cakes and perhaps an apple were the order of the day. On those days when the weather allowed for proper picnicking (as opposed to the in-car experience) we had tartan picnic blankets and I was interested to read the other day that horse flies are confused by the patterning and stay away.
Ancient wisdom we should perhaps retain in these days of new thinking.
As the country continues to unlock and debate when and whether we should move to still more open-ness, as the weather improves and picnics are seen to be a safe way of spending more time with loved ones, let us take the opportunity to remember times when Jesus picnicked with friends, whether on the beach in Galilee when, risen from the dead, he ate breakfast with his friends or on the hillside when, having tried to escape the crowds, he is followed and ends up not just teaching them, but feeding them also.
Many have found this year to be a time to re-connect with the things of faith.
Remembering our heritage, woven into the fabric of our daily lives is a good way to keep that connection alive.
God bless, Revd Vicci