Welcome to St Matthew’s Church in Morley, Derbyshire.
If I had been in my new garden for a few years more, I would, now, be looking out happily for Michaelmas Daisies.
Virgil wrote 2,000 years ago (translated from the Latin not by me):
‘There is a useful flower
Growing in the meadows, which the country folk
Call star-wort, not a blossom hard to find,
For its large cluster lifts itself in air
Out of one root; its central orb is gold
But it wears petals in a numerous ring
Of glossy purplish blue; ’tis often laid
In twisted garlands at some holy shrine.
Bitter its taste; the shepherds gather it
In valley-pastures where the winding streams
Of Mella flow.’
I’m not sure what a ‘Mella flow’ is but though they do indeed have a bitter, acrid taste, the leaves of the young plant can be cooked and are nutritious. Medievally they were used to counter scurvy and hysteria – and today apparently they help with coughs and are anti inflammatory. (So a very helpful website tells me –
But of course I love them because they bloom at Michaelmas –The Celebration of Michael and All Angels. I am very partial to Angels and pleased that so many people beyond the church have a sense of them and what they might be. They are a good thing to celebrate.
As well, Michaelmas heralds for us all the start of the ‘Great Season’ – Harvest, All Souls and Saints, Bonfires & November the 5th, Remembrance and then the darkening nights and rumbling prophets in Advent. To say nothing of my Birthday and the week I take to celebrate it. Plus lots of lamp light and cosy evenings, books and letter writing. Hopefully some new good drama on the telly! It must never be a lazy time though. Angels are full of energy and purpose.
In case it is helpful to any of you, my own experience of Angels is that they are swift to help counter fear and often fear is what holds us back from moving forward with life’s challenges and changes. In the Old Testament they come as bringers of change and new direction. They are the mighty presence and unfolding of God’s will. They meet and stand around those who try to do good.
We spoke of August being a month for wondering how we might make better use of the time that is given to us and September is the moment to put our ponderings into action. Whatever your view of Angels is, may something of their energy and purpose be yours and may they guard all of you who want to do better as we venture into the new season.
Revd Kate Plant