Minister’s Letter for June 2017

As spring gives way to summer, so Pentecost releases us from celebratory Eastertide, to bowl headlong into…Ordinary Time! What is Ordinary Time? A very simple explanation is that it’s those bits of the Church’s year “in between”. Not Easter, not Christmas, not Advent, Lent or Pentecost.
Pentecost is such a climax event: An outpouring of God’s powerful Spirit on God’s people. And then what? Where do we go from here? Where did the first Church go? They stayed together, they shared everything they had, they took care of each other – and they told others of Jesus, drew them in to share their faith. This was a period of intense growth, both in understanding, in love, and in numbers, for the fledgling Church. The events at Easter and Pentecost had brought them into life, and now they grew.
The liturgical colour for Ordinary Time is green: How very appropriate for a season of growth. Green is a friendly colour, it’s positive, it’s calming, yet it enlivens. It comes in many different hues and nuances, it changes with the light, and the time of day, or year.
In nature we cannot always see how plants and animals develop; it happens by small increments every day. But then we notice how things have changed, how they have grown. It is the same with our faith. Look back at your own understanding of God, of yourself, of Church, and notice how different it all looked, and felt, 5, 10, 20 years ago. Think also of your surroundings. If you have lived in your village for a very long time – how has it changed? If you came more recently – how might it look in 10 years’ time? There is growth, and change, everywhere.
One part of our mission, our work with and for God, is to care for His creation. This has become more and more important, as the pressure on natural resources grows. Here at home this is felt as more and more land is given over to building projects, and as water quantity and – quality, and air pollution are compromised. In other parts of God’s Earth other issues, or similar ones, are experienced, and often by people with much less possibility to mitigate the effects.
We cannot solve these equations by ourselves, but must work together with other individuals, and other states, to find new ways to live that are sustainable both for people and for nature. But we can all commit to living simpler, less wasteful lives, and to finding as many opportunities as possible to care for soil, water, plants, animals and humans. To help them, and in this also always ourselves, to grow and flourish. Composting, rain water butts, gardening and looking after our pets and family, doesn’t feel like “spiritual” activities. But in God’s economy, they are, or can be.
We can pray for all that we are given to look after. And we can pray as we do so. We can use all our resources in a responsible way, as the gifts from God that they are. And we can find ways of sharing, and enjoying God’s creation with others, humans as well as other life forms. This is being truly “green” and at the same time, truly godly.
And although the colour green it is greatly abundant, it is far from ordinary. So maybe Ordinary Time could become for us a Special Time to grow in love for, and in understanding and care for God’s creation, for His, and our Earth.
Ylva Blid-Mackenzie
(ALM Worship Leader and Funeral Minister)