The Joy of life
In the centre of our village as in most communities sits the unifying presence of the imposing War Memorial. Adjacent to it in the May of each year the Maypole is placed and the green vibrates with the joyful sound of children, who, responding enthusiastically to the dance caller’s instructions weave their complex and colourful patterns, (this year was to have been the fiftieth anniversary of its reinstitution).
The Maypole ribbons give each boy and girl for a moment an identity in the great pattern, stepping neatly or clumsily, always (nearly always) avoiding to tread on each other’s toes, they create a rainbow above their heads then with intricacy beyond imagining unwind it and accurately return to their places.
The War Memorial shares the happening and in some sense gives permission for this celebration of life and love to occur. For it is for this freedom today that the people remembered on the cold stone gave us their tomorrows. It is not a virtual reality but an inspiring legacy giving good purpose for us in our turn to release the spirit of joyful service from deep within our being.
Christendom comes alive in the light of the Great Easter celebrations and life is reset, old stories capture new hearts and faith claims its place bringing a stability and a security beyond the hazards of our daily being. The nature of human kind is restated and we are to be at peace with self and one another and our God.
Queen Mary’s prayer book presented to her in the May of 1553 was a crafted book of praise to the Creator Lord. Its every page was colour washed with a presentation extolling lightness and life, people working together and sharing their endeavours. The world is painted as emerging ever fresh and ever renewed. The grass hosts the glistening dew, the birds are building nests, blackbirds try to out sing each other, folk young and old foraging in the wood, praying in the church, conversing together, fishing in the stream, spinning wool at the garden gate. A hive of business and community involvement all painted with an air of frivolity in its true sense. A sense of New Beginnings everywhere and in every prayer ‘The grandeur of creation seen in a grain of sand or the universe in the petal of a flower’. Everything in its place and a place for everyone. The feeling of adventure permeates the air together with romance relived and hopefulness reborn, life has a lightness of touch.
Cherish the ribbon of life we were given freely at birth. Remember all those we have danced the tune of life with, and the people we dance with now and those we have yet to discover and give thanks. No-one and no thing is ever wasted and nothing is ever lost completely in the economy of the Our Lord’s creating. Especially those who today walk through the valley of despair, caring for each other, dancing the dance of love.
Graham W Bettridge
Hon Chaplain Parcevall Hall