Daily Devotion for Saturday 22nd June 2024

Saturday, 22 June 2024


I’m revisiting this painting of two of our collection of South Pacific cowrie shells. My parents were missionaries with the London Missionary Society (LMS) in this region for 18 years from 1952. Part of my father’s ministry was in helping to train Cook Islanders who were called to ordained ministry. These shells speak many things: faithfulness lived far away in another part of the world; the ambiguities of overseas mission and its relationships with colonialism and empire; power and powerlessness; ways in which knowledge, and knowledge of God, gets trapped and tainted as one culture imposes it upon another; listening; humility; generosity; hospitality; grace; kindness; love; beauty; memory; loss; bereavement. These are just a few of the voices ringing as I hold these cowrie shells now.

I wonder where you are as you read these words?

I wonder if you might also have, somewhere close, some reminders that speak to you of the people, places and encounters that have touched you? Maybe, on your phone, you have a whole gallery of images and video and messages that offer glimpses of relationships you treasure and through which you are loved? My dad once taught me an acronym as he showed me what he had in his wallet: S.O.G.P.I.P. (Silly Old Grandparent, Picture In Pocket). Not so silly. It matters that we treasure memories. As dementia stole away my step-mother, as it has taken so much from so many, we know how precious it is to remember. 

The Church is a place for many memories and treasures many mementos.

I have always delighted in David Cornick’s summary of something at the heart of our Reformed tradition. God has appointed trysting places; places where lovers meet. They are scripture and the sacraments. In the Bible read, in Baptism received, in the bread and wine of the Lord’s Supper, we remember much. And it is very good. 


Thank you, God of all time, for the little bits of time that are home to me. Thank you for the people I remember now. Thank you for places I have called home where I discovered something. Thank you for encounters which changed me, for wisdom that inspired me and for love that healed and lifted me. Thank you for the treasury of memories the Church is. Thank you for being in it all. Amen.

Today’s writer

The Revd Neil Thorogood is the minister of Trinity Henleaze and Thornbury URCs in the South Western Synod.


New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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