Gathering against the backdrop of a cloud covered Arran, with the threat of rain ever present, members from the Alloway and Fisherton Churches, along with a handful of curious passers-by, came together for a truly unique seaside service.
The night kicked off with Rev. Neil, who captivated the audience with a fascinating narrative about honey's historical significance, both in culture and biblical texts. From Cleopatra's beauty regime to German Lords accepting it as payment for beer brewing, he intertwined stories with insights on honey's timeless allure and medicinal properties. He highlighted honey’s remarkable endurance, its undeniable sweetness often symbolising the fullness and richness of life that God desires for us.
With an attentive audience, Neil enlightened us about honey’s significance in biblical scriptures, mentioning that it appears 61 times in the Bible. From the dietary staple of John the Baptist, who feasted on locusts and honey, to Moses promising a land flowing with milk and honey, to David relishing God’s words as sweeter than honey, the biblical association with honey was fascinating. Neil concluded his talk by reiterating that the sweetness and longevity of honey stand as a symbol for the eternal goodness and benevolence of the Lord.
Following the delightful talk by Neil, Rev. David took centre stage. His subject of choice? Sand dollar shells. As David passed around shells from as far away as Barbados and Bermuda, he began to unravel the religious symbolism associated with these unique creations of nature. Observing the shell’s curious design, David drew parallels between the star at the centre of the shell and the Star of David, which guided the wise men to Bethlehem. The five holes in the sand dollar were likened to the wounds Christ sustained during his crucifixion, while the lily pattern around the star was seen as a symbol of Easter and the resurrection of Jesus. A gentle shake of the shell revealed the sound of something rattling within - five tiny shells shaped like doves, symbolising the doves of peace.
The evening concluded with a prayer and a joyful call for everyone to join in for a cup of tea and a hearty sing-along in the hall, along with a chance to crack open a sand dollar shell to discover the hidden doves inside. It was a fitting end to a service filled with enlightening stories, thoughtful reflection, and profound insights.
The Sundown Services by the sea are not just about the camaraderie, fellowship, and wild swimming for some; they’re about exploring the profound connections between our everyday world and the spiritual truths that underpin it. Whether you were able to attend or are reading this recap from afar, we hope this tale of honey and sand dollar shells brings you a sense of peace, inspiration, and connectedness. Stay tuned for our next Sundown Service - we look forward to sharing more tales of wisdom and wonder by the shore.