Fair are the Meadows by Cheryl TenWolde

May is a wonderful month for taking walks. Whether in warm spring showers or balmy sunshine, breathing in the scents of the reawakening earth will remind us of how amazing it is just to be alive. If we walk out our front door on the first of May, there might be a May basket filled with flowers hanging on the door knob! Maybe one can gaze out an open window or simply dream of other times when nature’s brilliant display of colors was seen on occasions when a walk is not possible.

The herds and flocks grazing on the green hills remind us that on May 7, the Fourth Sunday after Easter, we celebrate Good Shepherd Sunday. As we walk along, we can pray the words of Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

Christ is the Good Shepherd who came that we might have abundant life. The most prominent drawings among those in the catacombs are those depicting Christ as the Good Shepherd, and it is still a beloved image of our Lord’s love for us.

The Days of Solemn Supplication, Rogation Days, are days when we especially ask God’s blessing on the land that the fruits of the earth may be sufficient for our needs. Communities sometimes make outdoor processions, halting at suitable places for prayers. The Sixth Sunday after Easter, May 21, and the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Ascension Day on Thursday, May 25 are Rogation Days. In past times, the priest would take the children of the parish out on Ascension Day to “beat the bounds”. Carrying willow sticks, they would find each boundary stone around the parish and strike it with their willow branches. In this way, the boundary of the church property was memorized and the holy ground could not be encroached upon. In this month of May, we especially pray for God’s blessing upon the hills, valleys, and meadows surrounding our parishes.

You crown the year with your goodness,

And your paths overflow with plenty.

May the fields of the wilderness be rich for grazing

And the hills be clothed with joy.

May the meadows cover themselves with flocks

And the valleys cloak themselves with grain;

Let them shout for joy and sing. (Psalm 65: 12-14)

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