3rd May 2021

It’s the May Day Bank Holiday: what memories does this hold for you? In the days when the Baptist Assembly lasted three days, in Blackpool, Bournemouth or Plymouth, this was the day it ended and we set off on a further trip to the Lake District, or Dorset, or North Devon, driving through all the luxuriant abundance of the English springtime. Just as it is today the trees are resplendent in fresh green; delicate wild cherry blossom, white hawthorn and creamy horse chestnut candles show their colours; red campion, white stitchwort and billowing, lacy cow parsley overflow the hedges. Our hearts, too, overflow with joyful praise to God for all these good gifts. Our spirits rise like balloons set free, up into the heavens.

Not this year! Our spirits are weighed down, our hearts ache with the pain as we hear of thousands suffering from coronavirus in India and tragic deaths in Israel. As I pray for these people, it’s suggested that to pray effectively I must enter into their darkness. I try to do that and feel as they feel. But I also want to link my prayer of empathy, my wallowing in their darkness of pain and bereavement, with my joyful praise for the goodness of God’s extravagant provision of new life in springtime. Can I perhaps bring light into darkness, courage, comfort and solace to them from God through the trust, confidence and joy of my prayer of praise?

Lesley Fuller