From the Rectory June 2014

From the Rectory June 2014

(This first appeared in the June edition of the Itchen Valley News)

In May I had the privilege of speaking at Friendship Club. Drawing on my days as a museum curator, we talked about objects and the stories behind them. Stories about why certain objects look as they do, but also hearing the personal stories which so often make things more precious than they inherently are.  I was particularly struck by one of the objects a lady chose – a sand dollar – one of which is sitting on my desk as I write this, leaving a pile of sand each time I move it.

Like so much in life, sand dollars have a story behind them which, once known, makes them even more amazing and beautiful than they first appear. These bleached, flattened disks which can be found lying on the beach in certain parts of the world are the remains of sea urchins. To think that this object was once a living creature is amazing enough, but for me, the sand dollar on my desk was made even more meaningful by the story we were told of how the lady came to have them and then her generosity in giving them away.

Everything we see has a story to tell: a battered teddy tells of the cost of love; some china tells of past employers; a broach tells of young love; a tankard tells of 50 years of marriage.  We are fortunate to live in a beautiful part of the world. As you walk around the Itchen Valley and enjoy the beauty of creation, may I encourage you to look beyond the trees and river and think of the story behind them. However you may think the world actually came into being, the Bible is clear that universe tells the story of the Creator who made it: ‘The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork.’ declares the Psalmist (Psalm 19.1).

It is not just things that have a story behind them, everyone we meet has a story to tell: of joys and woes; of love and hurt; of places been and dreams as yet unattained. We are extraordinary creatures to look at with all our different appearances, skills and gifts, but even more moving to me is the story behind us: a story of God’s love for us, of his calling us each by name and of his desire to have a relationship with us.  The Christian story has been called ‘The Greatest Story Ever Told’ and we all have a part in that story. I wonder what your story is and whether you have stopped to see where God is in it. Why not take some time to have a look and then ‘give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his steadfast love remains for ever! (Psalm 118.1)

Revd Rebecca Fardell, curate

 Anonymous poem about the legend of the sand dollar

The legend of the sand dollar
That I would like to tell
Of the birth and death of Jesus Christ
Found in this lowly shell.

If you will examine closely,
You’ll see that you find here
Four nail holes and a fifth one
Made by a Roman’s spear.

On one side the Easter Lily,
It’s center is the star
That appeared unto the shepherds
And led them from afar.

The Christmas Poinsettia
Etched on the other side
Reminds us of His birthday,
Our joyous Christmas tide.

Now break the center open
And here you will release
The five white doves awaiting
To spread good will and peace.

This simple little symbol,
Christ left for you and me.
To help to spread His Message
Through all eternity.


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