Treasured Possessions is a theme that could go so many different ways. I have been pouring over it for weeks with Deacon Blues Real Gone Kid ringing in my ear “all the old 45s/And the paperback rooms/And it's scattered all the photographs/Of summers and suns…”
In the end I have chosen a couple of tiny bits of stones. Yip, nothing very valuable but very treasured for what they stand for. I have a tendency in places of poignancy to reach down and pick up a piece of the almost sacred earth and bring it home. These two little bits of rock sit in our mantelpiece piece… probably going unnoticed… maybe even to my wife!
The first is from the Onialeku school that our Church is connected with in Arua, North West Uganda. West Nile is on the distant edge of Uganda, infamous for Idi Amin and at times it seems marginalised and isolated even by its own fellow citizens.
When we in Fitzroy were building new halls we decided to give a tenth of our fund raising to an education project somewhere in need. When I arrived in Onialeku last summer and saw the new school building, I saw hope made bricks and mortar. It was only a building but there it was so much more than a building. I treasure my tiny little piece of it…
The other is little bit of limestone from Robben Island off the Cape Town Coast, where Nelson Mandela did so many years in prison. I have been round that prison so many times and every time I feel inspired and hopeful. How can that be? It was a place of apartheid, unimaginable cruelty and great injustice. How can I feel good walking across it.
Because it is redeemed. The prisoners are now the tour guides. They tell their story of incarceration… and then freedom. Of being treated as less than human… and then voting one of their very own in as President of the Nation. A New nation. A forgiving nation. A rainbow nation. Redeemed ground. I bent down and stole a piece…
So, those two stones. pieces of rock. They remind that my Christian faith is all about hope. And not a hope that is for the sweet bye and bye. A hope that is for here and now. Earth can be redeemed… can be as it is in heaven. Those two stones… fire the imagination and the actions of my day! Treasured!