I love words, and I get cross when they are misused – as in Mothers Day, which should be MOTHERING SUNDAY! “Mothering” has so much more depth and richness as a word than Mother, and reminds me of Jesus speaking of his longing to gather us up as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, with the multitude of significance that we can read into that.
And I flinch when certain words are mispronounced – as in Nean when we all know that Nene is pronounced NEN!
All this is coming from a Rushden girl, with a Rushden accent, which I have to curb in order to be understood, and a fondness for local words – jitty, rootle, air ol’ bwoy, and ennit for instance, and I can’t spell either - thank goodness for the spell-check on my computer!
As we enter the month of May – Mary’s Month, I think of a word laden with meaning, as sweet as honey – Maying.
There is a beautiful poem by the 17th century poet Robert Herrick where he invites Corinna to join everyone else and “go a Maying”.
This is gathering May blossom from the hedgerows, which he describes as full of the flowers of the white-thorn bushes and festooning lanes and fields.
Though not a religious poem as such - it even presses Corinna to
“Wash, dress, be brief in praying:
Few beads are best, when once we go a Maying”
- to me it sings of Gods bounty given to us – pressed down and running over
It is not just picking branches and taking them home – Oh no, it is rejoicing in the abundance and fecundity of life itself, singing and dancing and embracing the sheer pleasure of living – God given pleasure.
During Lent the choir sang the beautiful Anthem “Wash me Throughly” by Samuel Sebastian Wesley, grandson of the wonderful Charles Wesley, writer of some sublime hymns.
The Anthem is based on Psalm 51:2 and is truly lovely.
The word that goes straight to my heart is “Throughly” my computer spell-check doesn’t like it one bit, and tries to change it to thoroughly, but in my mind there is a big difference between the two words though they both derive from the same root.
To be washed thoroughly is to be scrubbed from top to toe, but to be washed throughly is to be cleansed outside and inside, washed from every stain of sin – within, without, totally and completely.
In St. Mary’s the Anthem is usually sung during Holy Communion, and it is then that the word “Throughly” really transports one to another place, a Holy place.
To be immersed in Christ, to be held by him and to hold him within oneself is to experience the love of the living Christ - Throughly.
Thank God for our language, with hearts and voices to lift our Praises to him.