I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a lot of conkers in my house this Autumn. It seems to have been a bumper year, and although I pretend I’m collecting them just because my daughters love playing with them, if I’m honest, they’re partly for me as I love the wonder of those beautiful silky-smooth chestnuts with their super-spikey shells.
Last year, I posted an idea on praying with conkers, focusing on spikey situations and asking god to transform them. This year, I’ve found the more I collect, the more they cause me to reflect. The other day I was thinking of how sometimes I am like a spikey, difficult conker shell. When I let tiredness lead to impatience, irritation and general moaning, I find my children often reflect my state back to me either in their own spikey behaviour, or an astute comment (“Mummy, stop shouting!”). I’m glad, because it brings me up short, and gives me a chance to say sorry to them and to God, and to ask Jesus to make me more like Him, often outloud so they get to hear. When I’m tempted to wallow in how spikey I am, I remember how God is making me new: just like a smooth conker is revealed from inside the spikey shell, God is slowly making me less spikey and more smooth.
When I was collecting today’s conker harvest, I was mulling over the words in the song Cornerstone “dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless stand before the throne” and it occurred to me that God already views me as a smooth, silky conker, not as a spikey shell. When He looks at me, He sees Jesus, perfect in every way. Somehow this knowledge spurs me on, not only to love Him more, but also to be more like the person He sees me to be.
Why not try sitting around your conker collection and asking everyone what it makes them think of. Does it remind them of anything in the Bible? (crown of thorns? the parable of the sower? stories about trees? Does it make them want to pray about something?