This month.....

‘Don’t cast a clout until May is out’

As a child I remember that this was one of my mother’s favourite sayings, but I realise now that I was never sure what a ‘clout’ meant. With the aid of a dictionary, I have just discovered that it means ‘a piece of clothing’, which explains why I still had to wear my vest (and bodice for those old enough to remember such garments!). Of course those fortunate enough to holiday abroad over the Easter break would have been able to put this saying aside, at least for a short time.

Many will choose a British seaside destination for their holiday this Summer. Hopefully they will find sun cream to be necessary, and will enjoy some much needed sunshine. Many seaside towns have large funfairs as well as the inevitable amusement arcades and ice cream parlours. The Blackpool funfair is probably the most well-known; its roller coaster featured on the news recently as it had reached a significant anniversary. A group of adults (‘Europe Coasters’ if memory serves) were shown enjoying the ride on this famous roller coaster – although the reporter accompanying them did look rather sick!

Sometimes we can experience an emotional ‘roller coaster rode’. I believe this must have been true of Jesus’ disciples as they lived through the events of that first Easter. The utter desolation of knowing their Lord had died on a cross, was followed shortly afterwards for some of them by the indescribable joy of realising He had risen. The ‘ups and downs’ didn’t finish there; Jesus would appear suddenly and then disappear just as suddenly. Luke’s account of Jesus appearing to his disciples when they were gathered together includes the sentence ‘They were startled and terrified, and thought that they were seeing a ghost’. In what I consider to be an act of great kindness, Jesus asks them for something to eat, thus dispelling the notion that he is a ghost. Another time they encounter Jesus on a beach, cooking them breakfast.

Finally, he left them when he ascended: Luke 24: 51 While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. Just prior to this, Jesus had reminded them of the promised gift of the Holy Spirit: Luke 24: 49:… I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high. John 14: 26...the Holy Spirit…will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you. This year, as Easter was relatively late, Pentecost, when the disc isn’t celebrated until June 4th. Of course, the good news is that we don’t need to wait until then until we can experience the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives, enabling us to encounter the risen and ascended Lord on a daily basis.

Rev Beth Brown