Words of Light and Hope from Helena Crockford LLM
This week we have had St. Swithun’s Day (15th July). Did it rain or shine? St. Swithun was Bishop of Winchester in the 9th Century. The miracle he is said to have done seems humble – to mend a box of eggs belonging to an old woman, after they had been broken by workmen in the church. But how much can we judge the importance of actions by how they appear externally in the world? Maybe she was alone and forgotten in the world. Maybe this was the last box of eggs she had. Maybe it represented her whole income for that week and the difference between eating or going hungry; or buying medicine for a grandchild and them living or dying. Jesus made clear that the outward appearance of people’s gifts was not as important as the heart they came from:
“A poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents….Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” Mark 12.42-44.
If we reflect on things people have said or done in our lives which have left the most lasting impression, I wonder how many of these would seem small to an observer? A kind word when we were feeling lost, a touch when we were feeling alone, a “hello” when we were feeling forgotten. And how often did that person know how much their word or gesture meant to us?
Perhaps this can encourage us to think we can do something worthwhile even on an ordinary day, with even a small act, word or gesture.
Folklore has it that whatever the weather on St. Swithun’s day, that will continue for the next 40 days and nights – maybe we can see that in another sense. A small act of kindness, friendship, connection or generosity, may have far-reaching consequences that God alone can understand.
Collect for St. Swithun:
by whose grace we celebrate again
the feast of your servant Swithun:
grant that, as he governed with gentleness
the people committed to his care,
so we, rejoicing in our Christian inheritance,
may always seek to build up your Church
in unity and love;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.