I reckon that everyone at some time or another collects things. The first thing I ever collected was cigarette cards from my father’s empty packets. At the same time I collected religious art stickers form Sunday school. Both were about the same size, colourful, interested and easy to collect and stick in a little book. I moved on to collect little plates that I would pick up from Jumble sales. Then it was Peanut Books; if Charles Shultz wrote it I had to have it! (still have them too), then after that David Winter Cottages (but they were too expensive).
The thing I have collected though for a long time I have literally picked up for free. They were left lying around actually all over the place, and they are simply stones. I have them in my garden, all together just under the dining room window, often covered in weeds but they are there. I have been collecting stones for many years and in my collection I have some from Lindisfarne, Nepal, Brighton, Florida, Aldeburgh and many more places that right now slip my mind. I have stones that other friends have brought me back from their travels to New Zealand and Africa, and all these stones are mixed up together in my garden getting dirty.
They are nothing to most people who see them – just a pile of old stones that could have been bought from any garden centre, , and yet to me they are memory stones of people and places, happy days and holidays. A few of my stones in the garden have been polished and smoothed, some are even semi-precious, others are just lumps of granite and slate , rough and ready lumps of rock. All of them are thousands of years older than I am, and I know they will still be around thousands of years after I’m gone. I sometimes wonder if in years to come some geologist will come across this collection and make some great sweeping statement about how they came to be together, but she will have no idea of the circumstances of them being together, only I know how they got here.
It took David one little pebble to kill the giant Goliath. One small stone and the power of God and the Giant fell to the ground. I wonder if I have that stone in my collection? If I do I am not aware which one it is, and if I don’t I wonder where it is now? One stone I do have is a stone that was part of the Berlin Wall, I do know which one that is, and when I see it I am reminded of the amazing things we can do when we work together for peace.
I often think we are a bit like these little stones to God. We deem ourselves as ordinary, nothing special, there are so many of us how can we be of any worth or in any way unique? Yet God knows our whole story, God knows all about us, and has chosen us especially for reasons which this side of eternity we will probably never know or understand, simply chosen because of love. Our story may be one of greatness and significance or one of humility and faith, but each of us is here for a reason and daily we are to encounter God afresh and be involved in the adventure of discovering just why God has chosen us to be his own.
Thank You Father that you stopped, bent down low, chose me, picked me up, washed me and placed me in your Kingdom to be your own.
Jesus – during this Lenten season, remind me again that you have a plan for me, and you equip me to fulfil that plan through the power of the Holy Spirit
Lord hear us – Lord graciously hear us!