The sun shone, the breastplates of the cavalry glinted and across the globe crowds enjoyed the spectacle; the nation enjoyed the party.
As Sunday drew to a close, quietly catching up with televised highlights of the Jubilee celebrations, I realised that this was not just a once-in-a-lifetime event, it was probably totally unique.
Then Monday dawned; and with it a leaden sky, heavy rain and news full of travel chaos. How quickly the mood changes. By the time you read this, the weather at least, should have improved once more; I’m not sure about the news. It’s been a funny sort of Spring. A week into June and I am wearing a winter jumper once more. Twice I have stowed the winter clothes and brought out the summer ones; twice I have had to dig down for the warm layers once more. I suppose I should know better. Packing away the winter woollies, even this late in the year, is surely a triumph of optimism over experience.
Last Sunday we celebrated Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit. In the church calendar Easter is officially over. Before we go, however, let’s take one last look back. On Palm Sunday the sun shone. Jesus’ disciples thought they had it made, the world (or at least the bit they were interested in) was their oyster. Wrong! Within a week Jesus was dead and buried, the storm clouds had broken. Even the resurrection brought changeable weather. Was Jesus back, or wasn’t he? On Ascension Day he disappears. Ten days later, Pentecost, the Holy Spirit breaks in. Then, the work began.
Like the English weather, the weather of faith is changeable. There are moments of glorious sunshine; moments to relax and enjoy the warmth of the Son. Much as we enjoy the sun, it is the rain we have to thank for making our green-and-pleasant land so green and pleasant. So too with the Spirit. It is often in the darkest nights that we truly learn to trust God.
Jubilee and Pentecost; two celebrations in one. In the joyful crowds on the Mall, in the glorious infilling of the Holy Spirit, we have seen what life can be. Now it rains. But just as the rain-soaked soil feeds fresh growth for autumn plenty; so may the Holy Spirit flood our hearts with fresh growth; a spiritual plenty to share; hope for a darkened world.
Rev’d Philip Payne The Notice Sheet for Trinity Sunday 2022 can be found here