Rev. Andrew Cunnington
18th November 2018
Sand Castle Builders or Sea Shell Gatherers

Are you a sand castle builder or a sea shell gatherer?

Do you spend your time attending to that which can only die or are you in search of that which will live?

My little grandson has a great deal more sense than I.

On beach holidays he will happily help me with sand castle building until the tide starts to roll in, then he will desert our seashore construction side and run to a safer place on the beach and watch incredulously as I stay with my sandcastle desperately trying to keep it in one piece as the water laps up to its edges, then begins to flood it and finally completely engulfs it, leaving me sitting haplessly in the water, all my handiwork all but destroyed.

The family laughs at my reticence in abandoning a literally sinking ship. Silly old Grandad they say.

I play up to their laughter of course but deep down I often think about the way in life, we keep going with things that have had their day, we won’t let things die a natural death. We hang on to what it past.

The people of Jerusalem had great pride in their buildings especially their temple. They were proud of what they had built. They thought the foundations were deep enough to withstand anything.

They did not reckon on Christ.

For Jesus tells them that they all they have carefully built will be thrown down and he wasn’t just talking about buildings.

The problem with being a follower of the man from Nazareth is that we know not where the way will take us next. We cannot always see where the path is leading.

But what we do know is that we will forever be on the move.

For the ways of God unravel themselves to us gradually and gently, and we have to keep on looking to fresh horizons and adjusting our expectations.

He is an ever moving God. Always moving on just as I arrive.

Jesus came and the law is made complete. Jesus came and the Passover is superseded into the Last Supper. Jesus came and fishermen become disciples, blind people see, deaf people hear, and those on the edge became drawn to the centre.

Jesus came and what seemed impossible miraculously takes shape.

The Pharisees of his day had great faith in the sandcastles they had made out of their religion.

They could not see that the practices they held dear were going to be swept away. They clung to crumbling battlements.

When the tide goes out on my holiday beach, a wide expanse of sand is revealed and beautiful shells appear the seashore.

Then my little grandson will come tottering back on to the beach and become completely wrapped up in finding these tiny treasures where once a sandcastle held sway.

Jesus did not sweep away the old without leaving something new. The discovery of His life in our world is the chief joy of those who aim for a life of faith.

Jesus protects us with his grace, but he also calls us to be vulnerable and open to the changing tide of living and dying.

So are you a sand castle builder or are you a sea shell gatherer.

Intent on preserving things just as you have had them or open to seeing signs of new life that might change your perspective.

They crucified Jesus in the end, because they assumed his kingdom was only built on sand.

Those who waited for just three days and nights on that huge tide of death, were rewarded with the wide open spaces of sand and seashells in all sorts of remarkable places as new life came washing into the world through His resurrection.

Let us look for signs of His unfolding greatness in our day rather than manning the ramparts of the crumbling.

MARK 13: 1-8