A Growing Church in a Growing Town

Letter from the Manse – the size of a hazelnut

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I don’t feel very inspired to write today, so instead I will tell you about my recent trip to Wales to take my mother for her covid injection. 

My dad gave me a bag of runner beans to plant – they were from his last year’s crop and I that moment I thought of “Jack and the Bean Stalk” and wondered how high the beans might go! I also thought as I held these in my hand, how wonderful that my 87 year old dad is alive to give me this gift, and I hold these as a precious gift of hope for a new season, or at least another day in God’s goodness.

Julian of Norwich the Anchorite, who lived at the time of the Black Death as well as wars and revolts – lived in a cell as an anchorite. This meant that she was walled up in the cell attached to the church for 26 years between 1390 and her death in 1416 – this ministry was very popular in mediaeval times for men and women.

Once she entered it, she was not allowed to leave – as an anchorite she chose a life of prayer and contemplation, shut up alone in a cell praying for her community….she wrote about God in the Revelation of Divine Love. In her mediations on God’s love, she looked at something in her hand the size of hazelnuts and reflected-

“And in this he also showed a little thing, the size of a hazelnut, lying in the palm of my hand… In this little thing I saw three properties: the first is that God made it; the second is that God loves it; the third is that God cares for it. But what is that to me? Truly, the maker, the carer, and the lover. For until I am of one substance with him, I can never have complete rest nor true happiness; that is to say, until I am so joined to him that there is no created thing between my God and me.” (Chapter5)

Whether its beans or hazelnuts, something this small and so well created can remind us that God made us, God loves us, God cares for us – didn’t Jesus says as much when he said consider the birds of the air and the flowers of the field ..

How great is the love of God that has been lavished on us that we should be called children of God! That’s what we are.