13th September 2023

A beautiful wooden jigsaw of a tree sits on a mantlepiece. Picking it up, one discovers sellotape on the back, holding the sculpture together. Rosemary Lain-Priestley (“Unwrapping the Sacred. Seeing God in the everyday” (2009)) writes “It reminds me of how people mostly are. They are genuinely beautiful and on the face of it very together”.

Rosemary suggests that it can be helpful for us to admit our need for virtual sellotape! Perhaps we need support from others, a professional listening ear, activities that allow us to switch off for a bit, or time out from our usual environment for rest and reflection.

As friendships deepen over time, we start dropping the “I’m OK” mask and own up to the “sellotape”, to let on about our frailties. This then makes it easier to be able to be there for each other.

Rosemary quotes these words: “But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way but not crushed, perplexed but not driven to despair, persecuted but not forsaken, struck down but not destroyed, always carrying around in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies” (2 Corinthians 4:7-10).

She adds “God calls us… to offer all that we are… in mending the world. We are called to serve because we are willing to carry treasure in clay jars, and out of the vulnerability of that way of being to offer the treasure to others.”

Ruth Allen