Summer cannot be far away.
The barbecue marking the end of the Sunday School year passed in warm May sunshine and a gentle breeze. There was that feeling that fifty years ago would have been described as “beat” – exhausted exaltation.
But the closing days of the season are not a time to rest. The parish fete is thirteen days away, our neighbouring parish held their fete yesterday and a trailer filled with the books left over from their bookstall arrived this afternoon with five men to unload them.
“What did you do on your bookstall last year?”
“€2,000”, I replied.
“We managed €2,008 yesterday, but we cheated. It was €1,998 and we put a tenner to it.”
“Ah”, said I, “I thought only we would do that. We had €1,994 last year and added a tenner”.
There was good humoured banter about them off loading their rubbish on us and agreement that bookstalls were the most effective way of fund raising – every cent being profit. But, then, as we all worked on our respective parish bookstalls, we would say that.
The back is now complaining about the lifting of the boxes of books, or maybe the lifting of tables this morning. My chiropractor, a stern Kiwi, will know next time I see her. “Bending the back instead of the knees again?”
Has anyone ever tried doing anything much just bending their knees? Anyway, the twinge will be worse in two weeks time after the fete.
Our youth organizations service on the day after the fete marks the real beginning of the summer in the parish. Even the sermons switch to a special series the following Sunday.
There is a rhythm in parish life in the suburbs as much as in rural areas.
Such rhythm, such a series of markers, is important in the parish year. The ordinary days and the special days, create a sense of direction, a sense of being on a journey in God’s service.
The journey has reached a pleasant place before the pilgrimage picks up again in the shortening days of the Irish autumn.