I like the period after Easter. After the emotional intensity and busyness of Holy Week and Easter it is a time for more reflection, particularly on what being resurrection people really means.
We always read from the Acts of the Apostles during this time, which gives us fascinating insight into the struggles of the early Church – or followers of The Way as they were then called.
We then move into the celebration of Ascension and Pentecost, which is followed by Trinity Sunday when we begin the long liturgical period of Trinity or ‘Ordinary Time’ which takes us through the summer months and into the Autumn.
This period is about beginnings. Easter brings its own new beginning with the promise of new life through the resurrection of Jesus. However, after the feast of the Ascension, the emphasis moves from what Jesus has done for us and into what we can now do as followers of Christ and as resurrection people. It is a time for us to rededicate our lives to Christ and look at new ways to follow him
I always think of this time as a time of hope, and nowhere do I see that more than in the natural world. This year as I have been driving around and walking through some of our lovely countryside I have been struck by the beauty and lushness of it all. The abundance of growth among the trees and plants, the newborn lambs and calves we see in the fields and the plethora of birds that visit our gardens at this time of year all speak of new beginnings and new birth. They are a reminder that the cycle of death and new life is a constant one.
This cycle is repeated in our lives, time and time again. Each Easter we carry away with us the promise that wherever there is death, whatever situations are ‘death giving’, there is now always the possibility of new birth, life and hope.
Again, I see that hope reflected in nature – particularly in the lovely greenness with which we are surrounded. I am always astounded at the seemingly infinite shades of green that re appear each spring. Green is the colour of balance and growth the colour of spring, of renewal and rebirth. It renews and restores depleted energy. It is a sanctuary away from the stresses of modern living and can restore us back to a sense of well-being. Spending time in our gardens, or out in the countryside is a wonderful way of restoring some balance and re-connecting us with the cycles of life of which we are all part.
On Trinity Sunday, the liturgical colour of our altar cloths and vestments changes to green and remains green through to the feast of All Souls. It is the longest liturgical period in the church year and I think it is very fitting that we should display green in our churches (and on our clergy!) as a sign that we are people of hope and new life. It is also the time, when, as I said earlier, we can look at new ways of being followers of Christ and people of the resurrection. During Lent, some of us studied the Beatitudes and I want us to go back to these as I believe they contain the blueprint for our Christian living.
So in the ‘green period’ of summer, let us look together to find new ways to follow Christ, the bringer of new life to all of creation, and bring the good news of hope to those who need to hear it.