Dear Friends

There is no place like home! It is wonderful to be home with your children, to pat your dogs, to be able to go into your kitchen and put on your own kettle!

It is also wonderful to be back at church, worshipping again with so many dear friends!

We had a great time away, but I was very excited (thank you so much to Kelli Hughes for mentioning this last Sunday) to hear that one of the wonders we had found on our journey had followed us home – the BBC series, The Repair Shop. The first episode of series one (four series have now been made) aired on the ABC at 6pm on Sunday 12 May and the second aired last Sunday (you can catch them both still on iview). The third airs tonight!

You might think I’m talking this series up a little too much, but I love it! In each episode three people bring a family heirloom to ‘The Repair Shop’. This is a temporary installation housed in the Weald and Downland Living Museum in West Sussex where they have persevered over 50 historic buildings dating from 950AD to the 19th century to generate public awareness and interest in the built environment. (West Sussex will have to be on the next trip!) In the show craftspeople with an incredible range of skills then work to restore the items and return them to their owners.

The first thing that impresses me about the show is the skills and abilities of the craftspeople that have been gathered; blacksmiths, clock restorers, carpenters and cabinet makers, stained glass experts, ceramics restorers, coopers, goldsmiths, silversmiths and even an antique typewriter restorer! Watching them at work, at work on what is really a labour of love, is incredible.

The second thing that that impresses me is how The Repair Show shines a light on a very different relationship that we can have with the material items that make up our lives. The tagline for the programme is ‘an antidote to throwaway culture’ and, as objects are lovingly restored and their stories told, you realise that there is something far more valuable here than having the latest and the shiniest and the most expensive things. What has struck me over and over again is the emotion in the programme, that precious objects, preserved objects, connect us to our own past and connect us to others. That is something that the latest and the shiniest can never do.

And, watching the show, it always seems to me that preserving and caring and restoring also speak about the character and activity of God. And how we, if we desire to participate in the work of God, must also ‘live by mending’. In Eugene O’Neill’s quote, “Man is born broken. He lives by mending. The grace of God is glue.”

May more of that glue and plaster and solder and grace fill our lives and our living!

Grace and peace!