The month of June sees us at the halfway point in the year. It also marks the middle of summer and has the longest day of the year. It is full of hope for long, warm and bright sunny days. Yet, for many students and children it also marks the beginning of the exam period. It could be important milestone exams or just end of term exams. I seem to remember grudgingly doing the exams when the weather was at its finest. I was never very good at exams and was easily distracted by what was going on outside and what I was missing out on. It always seemed very unfair to be stuck in usually a hot unventilated gym or hall at the hottest time of the year. I wanted to be outside playing games and having adventures.
There is sometimes a conflict between the different phases in life. Although we are halfway through the year, we are also coming to the end of the school or academic year. It also means that the long holiday over the summer is also just around the corner and about to begin. For students, teachers and parents there is a sense of longing for a change of pace and a new rhythm of life over the holidays. It is interesting to remember the long summer holiday comes from families needing to earn a living picking crops and harvesting. They would take the whole family including children to work on the land. It was hardly a holiday but rather strenuous, hot and backbreaking work which was all hard manual work. The long summer academic holidays are often a source of envy for people who get only four to six weeks off during the whole year not just over the summer period.
We are often drawn to make a comparison between our lot in life and how we perceive others are faring. It is interesting to me that I often seem to notice that people are doing better than me or having an easier time than me. I seldom think to myself that I am very lucky with what I have, and have to do. To my shame, I easily forget that there are so many people around the world just or only just existing, whilst I live a very comfortable, easy and safe life.
This year the end of the Easter season, Pentecost, slips into the second week of June. It is almost halfway through the year. It is more mid-summer rather than the end of spring and the beginning of summer. It changes the feel of this year, particularly as we had a hot Easter Sunday with record high temperatures. You might be mistaken in thinking Easter was a summer event! Yet regardless where Easter sits, early or late, warm, hot or cold it is surely a reminder that God is working for us without us asking for help. It is often the case when we acknowledge that we need help that then we can really change. Our world is changing all the time and we still need God’s help to change us and others.
Rev. Martin Wood. The Rectory, Church Lane, Cheriton Bishop EX6 6HY 01647 24119 (Tuesday to Sunday) firstname.lastname@example.org