Messages in the sand

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Sand at Sennen Cove

Last Sunday some of us were thinking about Jesus going out into the desert, and maybe about own journey into the desert as we go through the 40 days of Lent. No doubt Jesus spent some of the time thinking about sand.

So at our Communion service we reflected a little on sand, which can have a lot to say to us. Maybe you have some sand you could use as you read these reflections from Jo Parkin, our Chaplain at Park. If not, you’ll need to use your imagination!

The sand we used was from Whitesands Bay in Sennen Cove, right down at the toe end of the UK.  Jo and her family gathered a couple of bucketfuls last week when they were staying there, and it took several days to dry the sea out of it in the oven!

Jo says; the sand on the beach at Sennen is always changing and shifting, and you can spend ages just gazing at the interaction between sand and sea.  The sea takes some of the sand out into the depths of the bay, and then with the next storm or strong current brings it all back in again onto the beach.  The sea is constantly changing the shape of the beach – moulding it and shaping it.

You may like to reflect for a moment on what is emerging or growing in your life at the moment, or how your life is being moulded and shaped.  If you have some sand, use your finger to make shapes in the sand as you consider this…

There may be aspects of your life which you know you need to change.  Perhaps life-draining patterns of thought or behaviour, something at home or at work, maybe a relationship that is not feeling very healthy at the moment.  As you reflect on this, take a handful of sand and then let it flow through your fingers – or imagine doing this – as you consider what you may need to let go of…

Finally, the invitation we had was to simply to take some sand and hold it, almost as if you were holding a gift – you can hold out your hand and imagine.  This is the present moment – your life right now.  Nothing to do except to be still and notice what is, with thankfulness…

At the end of our service we poured our sand into a bowl as a symbol of our collective life together.  As our sand mingled with that from other bowls, we were aware that none of us live in isolation – we are all intimately connected to each other and to the created world around us.

In our prayers, we thought again about desert places:

Lord Jesus, you knew the desert – its gifts and its challenges. Give us courage to make desert spaces in our lives – places which are free from our everyday busyness – places where we can pray, and reflect and meet deeply with you.

We pray for people who are in desert places which they have not chosen, and who cannot see a way out. We remember all those who are in hard places at the moment… 

Lord, may they come to know that you are there, with them, that you will never leave them, and that you can bring new life, even in the desert.

We pray for all who are in the desert of isolation and fear because of the corona virus – for those in other countries, and for those here who are anxious about how they will be affected…

Lord, be with all who have to make decisions, those working on a medical response, those caring for others, and those who are suffering. Help us to find the inner space to go through this time with trust, generosity and imagination, finding ways to live out your love in our lives.


Ian Davies says:

Great imagery.
Many thanks


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