“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” - Jeremiah 29:11
God promises us many things. Often these promises are conditional on us loving, believing, seeking, following, or asking, they follow the form of if you… then …. for example, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9-10) For us to make promises to God, however, is risky and controversial. The Bible warns us against making any promises we cannot be sure to keep. Rather than bargaining with God and are invited to accept the gifts God blesses us with by grace.
None the less, throughout this year, we have at the Bield been inviting people to contribute to our ‘Wall of Promise’. An encouragement for people to imagine what they would like the world to be like in the future, and to think about some small change they could make to their own behaviour that could help to make that dream a reality. Not a if you… then I will… kind of promise, but a simple pledge to in some small way make a change for the better for themselves and hence those around them, and then to make a commitment between themselves and God, to make that change.
Each person has written their pledge on a scallop shell. The shape and lines of the scallop shell has become a symbol of our personal journey, the sacred path that we all must take within. We are all on the outer rim of the spirit, struggling to find our way back to God, our centre. The scallop shell reminds us to focus on our journey only, and that each person has their own journey to travel and own story that is unfolding. It reminds us that we are all ultimately one sacred soul and that each of our roads leads us back to each other.
The shells have been displayed on the wall to give encouragement and inspiration to those who come after them. Together these promises will be testament of our collective commitment to our journey with Christ towards a better future for all.
The bible tells us that God always keeps his promises, I hope those who have prayerfully made decisions to make alterations to their attitudes or behaviour while staying here have too by the grace of God been able to sustain those good intensions.
What would you have written on a shell if you had taken a few moments to think about what you wanted to commit to, to make your dream of a better future come closer to a reality?