May Day is one of our nation’s great celebrations of fertility: ritual washing in the dew on the 1st of May to ensure beauty, and young girls dancing around a May Pole, all very phallic! Personally, I have spent three May Days in a very fertile state – being 3, 6 and 7 months pregnant. The last two pregnancies resulted in the births of my daughters, but the first quickly became a time of grief: before the month was out, our first child had left us.
May is a time of mixed emotions for the church too – we have survived the hardships and sacrifices of Lent, we have celebrated and feasted Jesus’ resurrection, and then we accompany the disciples as they say goodbye to Jesus for the final time and he ascends to heaven. I wonder if they felt a similar emptiness as I did when I miscarried that first longed-for child? They, like I, knew that one day they would be reunited with the one they loved, when Jesus’ kingdom comes, but for now?
For now they have the promise of the Holy Spirit. Pentecost is just around the corner, and it is all change in the heavenly realms. Jesus has returned to heaven, but the third part of the Trinity is on its way to accompany them and us through life, bringing hope and healing and a re-newed sense of purpose.
For this Clergy Mummy there are other celebrations too. May saw the death of our first child, but it also saw a different kind of life for our daughters. Both girls chose to be baptised when they were just 3 years old, both girls found themselves drenched in water, and both girls made their toddler commitments to belonging to Jesus in the month of May!
Vanessa is an ordained priest in the Church of England, serving in a team of seven churches in rural Hampshire. She currently shares the rectory with her husband, two daughters and two cats. The menagerie is due to acquire more chickens in the spring and possibly a dog later in the year. Vanessa blogs at www.nothinglikeadane.wordpress.com and you can follow her at www.facebook.com/thewallopingvicar or @wallopingvicar