During Communion today (Dec. 22, 2019), the Ukulele Hymn Jam will be playing a song I wrote, Hazelnut Song, inspired bythe words of the Medieval Christian Mystic, St. Julien of Norwich:


I hold in my hand a hazelnut shell.

What could it be, so tender and small?

Full of wonder, it’s all that is made,

Because of God’s love, it never shall fade.


God made it, God loves it, God sustains it.

God made it, God loves it, God sustains it.


God made it, God loves it, God sustains it - what a beautiful set of claims. It really touched me when I first read it, and continues to stick with me.


I think that these three statements provide a wonderful summation of who I understand God to be – it’s even Trinitarian! If I had to explain the heart of Christian theology to someone who knew nothing, I would use these words of Julien.Everything else flows from this relationship, this love.  


This image of a hazelnut has provided me with a wonderful spiritual practice over the years. Maybe you would like to use it in the busyness and hustle-bustle of this season. Close your eyes. Breathe deeply. Imagine yourself, small, weak, and vulnerable – a tiny seed cradled in the hands of our loving Creator. Say to yourself: God made it, God loves it, God sustains it; say to yourself: God made me, God loves me, God sustains me.


And, on this fourth Sunday in Advent, this Mary Sunday, we remember that the image of that little hazelnut does not just have to be about us. We remember that God allowed God’s Self to be held, like a tiny seed – small, vulnerable and weak – and loved by a young woman, Mary, the Mother of God.


Like Mary, God allows us to love and hold God’s Self too. Every week at the Eucharist, we hold that small piece of bread in our hands, and we cradle our friend, our Saviour, the Lord and Maker of heaven and earth – small, fragile and precious. We hold our God, and we remember that God in turn holds us, made us, loves us and sustains us.


Thanks be to God!