God goes ahead of us, even 300 years ahead of us.
I spoke briefly at Trafalgar Road Baptist Church in Horley last week. The theme of the service was ‘Creativity’. The speaker before me, Nick Bailey, is a woodworker and shared the story of how he had created the unique lectern. He described the way that 300 years ago, an acorn was planted that grew into the oak tree that was eventually felled and used to create this amazing piece of furniture. There are a lot of oak trees on the south coast – Henry VIII had big plans for battleships – and of all the places this oak tree could have come from, it came from Waterlooville. It was planted, grew and was felled about a mile from Cowplain, the place where a mere twelve years ago another ‘acorn’ dropped into the ground and became the first Messy Church, becoming in turn the 3000-strong forest we see today. And just like church, the growth of a tree – the life – is the messy bit on the edge, where the damage caused by insects and nails actually makes the timber more interesting and beautiful.