Thought for the Month May 2024 by Rev. Caroline Wickens

When I was  a  child, growing  up  in  the  country, May  was a time of exuberance – it felt as though the world was full of blossom, each plant flowering with all the flamboyance it could muster. Cow-parsley at the roadside competed with the may bushes, apple blossom added a tinge of pink to the froth of white, and in the midst of it all the birds chirped and built their nests as though there was no time to lose. After the long cold of winter, suddenly the world came back to life in the sunshine.

Years later, when I was working in Zambia in central Africa, I missed the English seasons! There, the world came back to life in October or early November, when the rains came after six months of dryness. Children ran out of their houses and danced for joy as the heavy drops fell, until they were wet through. And everyone planted the seedlings which would bear the crops to keep them going through the coming year – every inch of land was filled with maize and greens.

This year has been out of balance. Here, there has been too much rain, so that plants have been washed away before they can flower. In Zambia, there has been drought, and the maize has withered and people are fearing famine. The climate  is changing and people are suffering the consequences.

Sometimes it’s easy to despair in the face of global pressures. What can we do as individuals in the face of huge problems? This May, Christian Aid Week invites us to join together in seven days of action to fund lasting change.  Alongside the fundraising, there are opportunities for worship, reflecting on God’s extraordinary love revealed in humanity as just one part of God’s awesome creation. So as nature limps soggily into new life this year here in Manchester, while sisters and brothers face hunger elsewhere, we can remember that even where the problems are massive, there is  always  the  possibility  of making a real difference, because God is with us. When we seek to renew the wonder and beauty of God’s creation, pushing back against  poverty  and environmental degradation, God works with us to bring the world to new life all over again.