The picture is of a piece of the Gospel about the size of a one pence piece, and the cross on this side tells part of a story, we as Christians are familiar with.
On the other side is written in extremely small writing the Lord’s Prayer, although I suspect my perception of the size of the printing is now down to my aging eyesight, as my 25 year old daughter read it with no trouble at all!
When I took the photo I thought it looked a little worn and so it should! It was given to me when I was 11 years old! I had just joined the Girl Guides and we were singing carols in a residential care home. After the singing we were given orange squash and mince pies and encouraged to talk to the residents. A gentleman called some of us over and he said “I want to give you something that will help you whenever you feel anxious or worried. All you need to do is to say the words written on the back of this and all will be well. It will make you feel better”. He gave us each the prayer ‘coin’. We then wandered off and no doubt helped ourselves to more mince pies and juice!
A year later we were back in the same residential care home and singing carols (probably even the same carols if I’m honest!) and I spotted the gentleman from the previous year. I couldn’t wait for the singing to be over and when it was, I raced over to him, pulled out my Lord’s Prayer and proudly told him he had been right. I said that whenever I needed help, that I had held it tightly in my hand and said the words and it had worked! It made me feel everything was going to be ok!
He was momentarily stunned and then said rather sheepishly “did it really?” I felt a little sad because I had believed him; and I remember very clearly thinking, that he didn’t believe it himself. Of course, later in life I learned its God’s work not ours that changes hearts and minds.
I was reminded of the gentleman very recently when working with a local church and its surrounding community and I started by asking them: what is your story and how do you tell it? We have lots of resources to help us: Walking the Way, Holy Habits and many, many more in our churches. I have no doubt we can use these to help find the sacred nestling in the apparently secular world around us and share it with others.
I know that as I renew myself each day to set about the task of trying to equate Gospel and culture; to identify how and why secular, postmodern sound-bites might be given new insight and meaning using the ‘lens’ of Christian faith, theology and practice, I can do no better than to return to the help the Lord gave me, from a man whose name I do not know, and pray “Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Amen!
Rev Angela Lawson