Revd Jackie

Rev. Jackie Bullen

The Green Season ...

I write this on a rainy day in June. Yes, you know the ones when people say things like “this time last year we had a heat wave”, “it’s great weather for ducks” or in a resigned tone of voice, “well the garden needs it” and of course they are probably right (although in truth my garden needs a lot more than just rain).

Yet, despite the assurance that we do need water to fall on the earth, I can’t help hoping that the sun will come out and very soon.

Wet days seem to slow everything down and can isolate us in our own little worlds. We look out of the window and the horizon seems nearer than we remember it. Maybe we feel that we need to take the car out to do anything and therefore we miss out on the accidental meetings and conversations as we walk or cycle around the parish or city.

The world seems a different place when it is dull and damp rather than bright and dry.

Sometimes, I find myself feeling resistant to going out at all but I eventually accept that the weather is something we can’t control so I settle on being a bit grumpy and knuckling down to the tasks in hand.

Yet, despite our resistance, there are of course lessons to be learnt from all of this if we choose to look for them.

Just as the garden needs both rainy and sunny days, we too need times of growing quietly and resting. Times when nothing much seems to be happening. Times to catch up. Times when we can just be. They are as vital to our well-being as those far more exciting, sociable and seemingly fuller times.

As a church we are just at the beginning of ‘the green season’ Trinity Time or Ordinary Time as it used to be called. It is basically the gap in the Church’s year where there are no high days or holy days on the horizon and Advent is still far off.

It can seem like a bit of an anti-climax after all the celebrations of Easter, Ascension Day, Pentecost and our Patronal festival when we celebrate the life of St Botolph.

I would suggest however, that if we can fully enter into it and stop resisting, we are reminded once again that there can also be joy in the ordinary and every day. We need the balance it brings.

Several years ago my then diocese encouraged us to wear “I’m not always busy” badges for Lent. At the time many vicars thought that might just be a step too far, but it is important that we allow ourselves to choose rest and renewal as part of our rhythm of life. Maybe focussing on purposeful work rather than allowing the demands of life to overwhelm us. Could that be something to aim for in this green season?

So I hope you find balance between work, rest and play (as a famous confectionery company used to advertise) in your life this summer.

Whether life will continue as usual or you’re heading off on your holidays, I pray you will be able to enjoy this beautiful world of ours in all its greenness and don’t forget to give yourself a bit of time to grow too!

One final observation is that after a good fall of rain the green of the garden can often seem more lush, vibrant and fragrant than it was before the rain came. Maybe that’s something to remember and hold on to more closely in the darker damper days?

With love and prayers.