Musings for May

Written On the 1st of May

“So here hath been dawning another blue day, think wilt thou let it slip useless away”

These two lines, which form the beginning of a hymn that was a favourite of my primary school head teacher, have been going round in my head for several days and like any annoying ear-worm might be best resolved by finding the rest of the words, so here they are, “Today” a poem written by the eminent and fascinating Victorian,  Thomas Carlyle:

So here hath been dawning
Another blue Day:
Think wilt thou let it
Slip useless away.

Out of Eternity
This new Day is born;
Into Eternity,
At night, will return.

Behold it aforetime
No eye ever did:
So soon it forever
From all eyes is hid.

Here hath been dawning
Another blue Day:
Think wilt thou let it
Slip useless away.

For me these words are an interesting challenge in these days when one day seems much like another, when without a familiar pattern of activity it can be hard to remember just which day of the week it is.  Today is the first day of May,  sometimes called “Mary’s month”  and historically greeted by celebrations,  dancing round a Maypole and the ringing of church bells; originally a day with ancient and pagan significance marking the coming of fine weather, then later adopted by the Christian church and the feast day of St Philip and St James.

May is a month full of saints, among them Athanasius of the interminable creed; Julian of Norwich the first woman to write a book in English; Matthias the “elected” disciple;  Brendan the Navigator;  John & Charles Wesley;  the Venerable Bede, who wrote an early English history;  Augustine first Archbishop of Canterbury and Joan of Arc.  There are others, twenty two days in May are feast days in the Anglican communion, and on the 31st May the feast of the visit of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Elizabeth, which this year is also the feast of Pentecost – a remarkable and blessed conjunction.

Perhaps one way of marking each day of May would be to learn more about the saints of this month so that as the order for Morning Prayer exhorts us:
“As we rejoice in the gift of this new day,
so may the light of your presence,  O God,
set our hearts on fire with love for you,
now and for ever.”

One day at a time, and we might be well prepared for Pentecost and our hearts leap to welcome the Lord Jesus.

Revd Rita Ball

Image – Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash

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