You may have heard the story about the granddaughter who found herself in difficulty when visiting her grandparents; her hand became trapped inside a beloved vase. Despite copious amounts of pulling and soaping and more pulling the hand refused to be released. It became clear to the grandfather that the only way to release the child from the vase was for it to be broken. A hammer was fetched, and the vase gently tapped until it broke in two. The hand was set free only for the grandfather to be amazed to see his granddaughter’s tightly clenched fist. When questioned as to why she didn’t straighten out her hand and allow it to easily pass through the neck of the vase the young child sheepishly opened out her palm and revealed an old golden sovereign that had fallen into the vase years ago and had long been given up as lost.
There are many lessons we can draw from this simple story. The application that springs to mind as we each embark on our Lenten journey is that very often, we have to give up something valuable in order to lay hold of something of greater worth. I’m not talking about abstaining from chocolate or coffee or TV, what will lead us to deep personal (and ecclesial) renewal is a willingness to shed the comfort of the past and an openness to embrace the future trusting in God’s presence and goodness.
In my role of leader of the mission and ministry team I am almost daily surprised at exciting stories of growth and new life from our diocese ... these come about very often as congregations and individuals find the courage and strength to let go of something that has been valuable to them in the past in order to lay hold of something new.
Moses wrote “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deut 31:6) let us hold this promise as we embrace an uncertain but exciting future.
Revd Canon Matt Barnes
Interim Director of Mission and Ministry
Diocese of Derby