Weekly Reflection, 24 June 2020

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Weekly Reflection, 24 June 2020

On Midsummers Day, Canon Richard reflects upon opportunities to repent and to amend, for fresh starts and new beginnings.

Transcript

24 June, Midsummer’s Day and the summer weather and the heat are returning.

We’ve had so much beautiful weather this Spring, but, there’s nothing quite like long, hot days in midsummer.

The American William Cullen Bryant wrote in his poem Midsummer:

A power is on the earth and in the air

From which the vital spirit shrinks afraid

And shelters him in nooks of deepest shade

From the hot steam and from the fiery glare.

It doesn’t sound like he’s enjoys the hot weather does it?

I’m standing in the Chapel of John the Baptist. Today, in the Christian calendar is the day when we mark his birth. John came to proclaim the coming of God’s Saviour, Jesus. They were cousins.

Pardon me for mentioning it, but, six months from today as the days grow shorter it will be Christmas, when we welcome Christ the light of the world. Symbolically, then the days increase in light for the following six months.

But there was another important part to John the Baptist’s message. As well as declaring that God was doing something new he also called people to get ready for it. He pleaded with people not to miss the opportunity to make a fresh start, to repent.

Repent means to turn around, to turn your back on what isn’t worthy of ourselves as God’s children.

John knew that it was important that people were looking in the right direction if they were to receive the gift that God was bringing them in Jesus Christ. And he didn’t mince his words. He convicted people of their constant need for repentance and forgiveness and new beginnings in faith and life.

The words in the poem might well apply to the human reaction to John the Baptist.

A power is on the earth and in the air

From which the vital spirit shrinks afraid

And shelters him in nooks of deepest shade

From the hot steam and from the fiery glare.

We don’t like acknowledging our faults, whether it’s corporate ones of institutional racism, or individual ones of hurtfulness or neglect.

We can feel the fiery glare within us, knowing we’ve failed and seek the shade of denial as our spirit shrinks.

There are opportunities in the air at the moment for fresh starts, let’s not miss them.

The hot sun can burn us. Like John the Baptist the fiery glare can be uncomfortable calling us to repent and amend.

But the sun is afire with brightness and light too. John the Baptist welcomes Jesus Christ whose light guides us into those changes of heart and mind

that build the Kingdom of God.

Canon Richard Mitchell


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