A pilgrimage, an apple and a hazlenut


This morning was based on a number of things buzzing around my head in recent times.

On Wednesday, Julie inspired us with images and stories and musings on her journey to Santiago de Compostella and I was left, particularly, with her words ‘My faith wasn’t fit for purpose’ and the quote from C S Lewis:

“Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

Secondly, I have been carrying with me our excellent bandstand session last week, led by Fiona on apples! We had explored all sorts of things, not least the erroneous tradition that this had been the forbidden fruit and we had focussed in on the Fall of Adam and Eve. This had reminded me of a terrific book lent to me this summer called ‘The Preaching life’ by Barbara Brown Taylor. This has an inspirational first half contemplating what church is and does and is for and the second half is a collection of her sermons. The last of these is a reflection on the crisis experienced by Adam and Eve – and how we tend to deal with life when things fall apart. She outlines a Jewish legend about the pair, east of Eden, after the Fall. For me it is a poignant exposition on how we cope – or don’t – when things fall apart. It’s too long to write up here – but do look it up or get the book – can really recommend it!

The third reflection was upon our vulnerability as ThirdSpace – we are very small and as friends move on, we are left feeling very fragile. This is a perennial problem for us. Here, I thought back to the wonderful words of Julian of Norwich:

He showed me a little thing, the size of a hazelnut, in the palm of my hand, and it was as round as a ball. I looked at it with my mind’s eye and I thought, ‘What can this be?’  And the answer came, ‘It is all that is made.’  I marvelled that it could last, for I thought it might have crumbled to nothing, it was so small.  And the answer came into mind, ‘It lasts and ever shall because God loves it.’  And all things have being through the love of God.

In this little thing I saw three truths. The first is that God made it.  The second is that God loves it.  The third is that God keeps it.

What is he indeed that is maker and lover and keeper? I cannot find words to tell.  For until I am one with him I can never have true rest nor peace.  I can never know it until am held so close to him that there is nothing in between.


With these 3 themes we read and walked along the river and up through the trees to the clearing where a war memorial stands over Matlock. We prayed and reflected and meditated around these issues on the way, prayed our version of the Lord’s prayer and shared bread and wine, remembering that the God who came to be broken, promises wholeness one day and companionship while we are, as yet, east of Eden.

Our blessing – for one another, for those in our prayers and for all you who read this blog:

May the God who became broken heal us.

And may he who is Maker, Lover and Keeper, make his face to shine upon us and hold us, until there is nothing in between. Amen.