Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom can be no variation, nor turning shadow. James 1:17
Before I can tell you what this holiday is I have to go back to when it starts. Long ago, to mark the changing of the seasons the Church instituted the Ember Days. Ember Days are the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, close to or before the change of the season. Ember Days are the days of preparation, marked with prayer, fasting or abstinence. The Summer Ember Days are the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday before Roodmas.
Ah, Roodmas! During the joy of Eastertide we get the full delight of Roodmas! Sometimes called Mayday or Beltane, they are all celebrating the waxing power of the sun which is half way between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. It is a time to celebrate the season of hope. Hope that is coming from the growing world around us as we move through the Easter season reveling in the fertility of the earth. The flowers are giving way to the tiny growing fruit. The baby animals growing to adulthood. This is the first day of Summer!
Yahweh, how many are your works! In wisdom have you made them all. The earth is full of your riches. Psalm 104:24
Now a word about how this is a festival of fertility – which has gotten a bad connotation. It is not, nor has it ever been a festival of fornication, contrary to popular belief. It is a festival of God’s love showering down upon the world, a festival of the ripening of life, a festival in hope of the harvest to come, a festival of thanking God for the many gifts we see all around us. This is a festival of Love, God’s Love. And during this festival of Love many young men proposed to their beloved so that they could be married on the Summer Solstice (June brides).
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God, and knows God. He who doesn’t love doesn’t know God, for God is love. By this God’s love was revealed in us, that God has sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Beloved, if God loved us in this way, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God remains in us, and his love has been perfected in us. 1 John 4:7 -12
But why then is it called Roodmas? Years ago, this festival was called Roodmas, the festival of the archaeological discovery of the Cross by St. Helena, which later caused Christianity to no longer an outlawed religion. Rood is the old term for Cross. Roodmas fit in very well with this festival of Love, as Easter matures into Pentecost. Roodmas was moved to be part of the Feast of the Holy Cross in September. Still sometimes you will hear Mayday referred to as Roodmas. The Feast of the Exultation of the Holy Cross, or Roodmas was solemn day contemplating the Triumph of the Cross, and what it means in our own lives. Then as we contemplated, it is not the death of Jesus but rather the end of all death, and therefore decided it is not solemn at all but a happy occasion – Roodmas or Mayday.
Why Beltane? That is just the Celtic word for the Month of May. So Mayday, Roodmas, or Beltane it is all meant the same celebration!
In the morning, go out into nature. Pray in gratitude and love for all you see around you.
The joys of summer to come
The Love that fills your heart
The whispering winds
The falling rains
The growing warmth of the Sun
The song of birds
The color of life
The smell of flowers
And all that live upon the Earth
Everything you see, hear and hold in your heart
Use your own words and say what is in your heart.
Peace be with you.