Talking Point – May 2022

Rev’d Martin Beukes

Suprised by the light
I HOPE that, as you read this, the weather is turning warmer and brighter, and that May is full of flowers, joy, and sunshine. This morning I found myself in a group of wonderful folks reflecting on our ‘on-again, off-again’ flurries of snow, when one of them suddenly said, “Well at least the summer was nice!” Of course, they meant the glorious week near the end of March and, after the laughter stopped, it got me thinking.
Firstly, thinking about how we are a little obsessed with talking about the weather; we are a bit predisposed to thinking it’s going to be bad or go bad suddenly. I am unable to travel to London without a raincoat, ever, because I had a bad experience once. But then I remembered this strange moment last night when I began getting ready to go somewhere I was meant to be, only to discover that I was getting ready to leave a full hour late.
Daylight saving time (British Summer Time) is an interesting experience – not having grown up with it. Our bodies have a rhythm that is not so easily adjusted or disrupted. A rhythm I am not sure we pay enough attention to. We have little problem with the ‘Oh-Yay-Extra-Sleep’ daylight saving day and rather more trouble with the ‘Why-Am-I-So-Tired’ daylight saving day. This is because our bodies don’t like the disruption. The rhythm we live by is important! After all, the 11th commandment is ‘Thou shalt not rise before 7 am, for this is an abomination!’
Of course, this commandment exists nowhere in the canon of Scripture, but firmly in the canon of my body clock; a clock which was really caught off guard by losing an hour’s sleep and by it being so light yesterday evening. This got me wondering why we’re caught off guard by the light?
It has been my experience that people have an amazing ability to take the darkness – all the pain and suffering that life throws our way – largely in our stride. This despite the manifest suffering all around us as wars are fought, children go to sleep hungry, people shiver in their homes, and many have no home or safety at all. There is so much darkness around and it is unnatural. It needs to be said that every one of us has our own limit to coping with the darkness, and it is only by the grace of God that we do not stray too close to it.
I find it sad I was surprised by the light last night, and heart breaking that it seems to me we are not terribly surprised by all the darkness in our world. Have we just come to accept it as the way things are? Has the darkness become the rhythm we busily live with?
I hope May is filled with some truly lovely days full of light, joy and flowers. But, if nothing else, we have a handful of bank holidays where our natural rhythm gets to fight to the surface as we adjust to the light.
Revd Martin Beukes is a member of the Methodist Team Ministry in Caversham