MAY - a meditation on the Anglican calendar 9 of 12
This is the dancing month where Philip, sharing his day, as is his nature, brings the request of Greeks, and discovers the emptiness of chasing celebrity. James, emerging head shoulders above Peter and Paul, brings the people together, perhaps the greatest of all vocations, befitting a brother of the Lord; showing Peter and Paul how to do their jobs. Peter will not mind. Paul will ignore it.
Usually this month we hail the day and long for the Spirit to do this work, provided, of course, he leaves us well out of it, for we would all be a Matthias, called, but never, apparently, greatly used. Doubtless he was, but we watch him slip into obscurity and wish we could do the same. Like Prufrock he was content to start a scene or two. Are we?
Nearer home three greats of Canterbury, Archbishops all, who began (Augustine),reformed (Dunstan) and reshaped (Lanfranc) a work that can never be completed, for it is always demanding, like the punch line of a joke, a poise, a skill and a timing that few can manage.
In the light of the Ascension we can rejoice in the knowledge that Jesus is now theChrist of time and space. In the fire of Pentecost we can shudder at the truth of what we have to do, at the truth of the One with whom we have to do.
This May is no country for old literary men, for the scent of days must draw us out and away from desks and pens. But Alcuin reminds us that the Word and the words are never far apart, and that poetry, liturgy, performance and praise are bound to the sparkling sun that wrests the thoughtful from the drudgery of computer screens and DVDs.
But this is a fabulous month full of every age from Jarrow to Julian, from Joan to Josephine – such men! such women! This fertile month of the darling buds of Pentecost, The Spirit could blow us to new living, new desires, new growing. If only.
Whoever will this month, whoever will, can sing the methodical songs, and though Calvin reminds us of the limits of our nature, nature itself is erupting all around, dancing from pole to pole like the leaping child in the visited womb: with a hey! and a ho! and a hey! The Lover loves the spring.