Magdalen College School chaplain: 'Ordinary summer of love helps to shape us'

Oxford Mail: The Rev Tess Kuin Lawton The Rev Tess Kuin Lawton

The Rev Tess Kuin Lawton, chaplain of Magdalen College School, Oxford, looks forward to the summer holidays

THE students are celebrating, the gardens are in full bloom, there is a festival atmosphere here at MCS and summer (rain or shine) is definitely here.

After the intensity and passion of the exam season, everyone is looking forward to a long summer to re-charge the batteries.

You might be surprised to hear that the Church follows a similar pattern.

For us, the intensity and the passion comes at Easter and the 50 days following that powerful re-telling of Jesus’ resurrection.

Over 50 days, we ponder and dwell on the Big Sequel: Jesus’ ascension, the arrival of the Holy Spirit (the ‘Comforter’, so that his disciples should ‘not be left as orphans’) and then the Christian affirmation of God as three and one – the Trinity.

It’s a lot to chew over, and priests all over the country wrestle with these huge doctrinal questions in ways not dissimilar to students wrestling with their finals.

And then comes ‘Ordinary Time.’ The colours in Church turn to green and the season lasts until just before Advent.

When you pop into a church this summer, you will hear some of the most familiar readings, like the parable of the Sower and the seeds, because this is the season when Christians ‘grow’ in their faith.

This is what the start of summer means for us all: time to reflect and consider. Time for laughter and fun.

Time to press the ‘pause’ button on life and work out what is important once again. ‘Ordinary Time.’ In the Church it is all about Jesus’ everyday teaching. And his stories remind us that our ‘daily bread’ is all about the love of others and the care of ourselves.

“A new commandment I give you, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:12).

More than anyone else, Jesus knew that it is in the ordinary things of life that we find the extraordinary.

A smile from a stranger when life threatens to overwhelm you. The laughter of a delighted child.

The unexpected kindness of a colleague at work.

These acts of love are what help us to grow and in the summer season, may we all have the time to recognise and celebrate these blessings in our lives.

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