The Minister's Message for June
Most Sundays we base our services on readings listed in a special book or lectionary put together by representatives of many different denominations. The readings follow the church year – so recently they provided the resources for Pentecost – but they also try and provide sequences of readings from a particular gospel or to look at the life of a particular character. Last year we looked at Jonah.
I try to make sure I have an idea of how the readings flow, four to six weeks ahead. When I took my first look at June this year, I discovered there was a short series about the prophet Samuel and King David. Whilst reading which part of their story we would read, I found myself transported back to school and what may have been the first time I heard the story of David and Goliath told by a teacher using Flannelgraph backgrounds and figures painted on felt. Very High Tec at the time!
We all know what it is to have memories triggered in this way. In their recollections about editing The Link, Geoff and Margaret Mullineux found themselves recalling the particular charm of stencil duplicating machines!
When I was a cub – actually it was so long ago I was probably a Wolf Cub due to the influence of The Jungle Book on Scouting – we used to play Kim’s game where you looked at a tray of objects and then after they were covered over had to try and recall them.
As I came to write this article I found myself playing a sort of Kim’s game triggered by the recollections I’ve listed above. The page in front of me said nothing but “June” and memories gathered to fill the space. June 29th is the anniversary of my ordination in 1982. It is also St Peter’s day. Ordinations are very often in the days near to the 29th but it was particularly significant for me that it was the day itself – not least because that is also my mother’s birthday.
We need to think again about Kim’s game, however. It is not really about the past. In the book of the same name (written by Rudyard Kipling) Kim (Kimball O'Hara) is the orphaned son of an Irish soldier and a poor Irish mother who have both died in poverty. He lives on the streets in India under British rule in the late 19th century. He is recruited by British intelligence to secure the future of India. The game, part of his training, is training memory to look to the future.
There is a book by Len Deighton called “Bomber” which follows, in great detail, one day in the aerial conflict between the Allies and Germany. It is set on June 31st. So it is trapped in a strange version of the past.
When I asked our gardening team if it would be possible to mow a labyrinth on the church lawn, they tried and very successfully so, for which I am most grateful. The labyrinth will be in place on the lawn until early June – do take a look/walk. It is a great way to explore how we can carry our memories into the future. Elsewhere in this edition is some information about labyrinths but also some guidelines about walking one.