The church calendar has had 2 millennia in the Northern Hemisphere to find meaning. Easter happens in Springtime, meaning the promise of new life is resounded in buds and blossom and lambs leaping. Pentecost happens in the summer heat, giving embodiment to the fiery presence of the Spirit. Advent and Christmas happen in the dark of winter, meaning the candles are lit when the days are their shortest, and the longing for the coming of the light of the world is acutely felt.
Not so much down here in the Southern Hemisphere. Advent and Christmas happen when the sun isn’t going down til 10pm, no shortage of light there! Easter comes as all the old life is falling off the trees, and Pentecost in the middle of the winter dark. We haven’t had much time to develop a new understanding for the ways these rhythms tie in with the seasons, and we’ve also had a bit of a hangover from the Northern version of the story.
This year however Easter has come early. REAL early. It struck me a while back that Pentecost wouldn’t be far from Autumn this year. In fact its May 15. So I decided I would collect Autumn leaves and make some sort of Pentecost art-piece with my family. It started yesterday in the Botanic Gardens here in Dunedin with Sam and Lucy finding the best trees with the most brilliant colours. Then last night I spent an hour or so waxing them so they keep their colours forevermore, amen. You get an old pot from the op shop, some beeswax, boil a bigger pot of water and put the old pot with the wax in until it melts. Then you dip the leaves in the melted wax and let the excess drip off and blow them dry. Its quite fun, even for an uncrafty bloke.
I wonder if this is something you’d like to do with your family, or your church? For those in the south, the leaves are only just turning now, and anyone north of us, it’s all ahead of you still! How about we all have a go, see what we can create (a collage, a sculpture, a holy mess) and then we can share our images here in the week leading up to Pentecost. Let me know if you’re keen!
Maybe this can be our way of making this story at home in our world a little more.