BY JENNIFER HAMPTON
Last week, I took a day trip to the beach. I needed to breathe the salty air, stick my toes into the wet sand and practice yoga next to the crashing waves. My soul needed to soak up the sunshine and bask in the breeze in a way that’s only possible on a waterfront.
As I walked along the waves, I noticed the patterns of sea shells covering the sand. Some whole. Some broken. Scattered everywhere and beautiful! I thought of collecting a few and even carried a few along on my journey, but at the end of the day it wasn’t sand or seashells I wanted to bring home. Eager to have some sort of trinket as a physical reminder of a life-filled day of adventure on the coast, I ultimately decided against the shells, tossing them back onto the beach and instead, brought home a pinecone. Yes. You read correctly: a pinecone. Along with all the shells and beautiful sand, I found a lone pinecone.
Now, I’ve collected lots of shells and sand from previous beach trips, but had never seen a pinecone rolled onto shore by the waves. It seemed out of place and out of context: a familiar object in unfamiliar territory. So I immediately claimed it as my day’s token prize, exchanging the iconic iridescent shells and sand for a misplaced prickly brown thing. I understand how some might question this exchange, but I was so pleased with my find.
It was more than just a pinecone; but for me, a symbol of unity. To find a pinecone among seashells was evidence of a power beyond human comprehension that brings and holds all creation in order. Something holds it, all and us, all-together.
The ancient Jewish prophet Isaiah tells the story of a great vision he had of heaven. Angles surrounding the throne of God sang “Holy, Holy, Holy is God-of-the-Angel-Armies. His bright glory fills the whole earth.” The word “glory” here communicates “significance.” The angels were proclaiming that the whole earth is full of God’s significance!
In pinecones and seashells and sunshine and coastlines, the whole earth is full of God’s significance. God continues to reveal who God is and seeks reconciliation with all creation. In this Easter-tide, the weeks following the celebration of the risen Christ, I hope you as the Church will open your hearts and eyes to the truth of God’s redeeming love in evidence all around.
I hope you will be challenged by socially, culturally and economically “misplaced” persons, those we perceive as the pinecones of our lives in Forsyth County, and find in them the same spirit of unity and the same glory of God found in all of creation.
I hope especially you will keep on the sunny side of life as you live out the Good News that Christ is Alive.
 Isaiah 6:2, The Message