The shell is there to keep the conker safe and put off predators. So, let us reflect upon what keeps us safe. Do we find our security in Jesus or in other places? The shell also represents a mask. Sometimes we wear masks to navigate through life. Some bullies at school choose bullying as a mask for their own insecurities. Let us remember that Jesus sees through our masks and sees the true beauty that we possess.
The conker represents true beauty. It can be polished, making its lovely brown shine. It is totally aesthetically pleasing. Let us meditate on the beauty of the conker and just enjoy it. Enjoy the feel of it, the touch. Let us remember that it is a seed, so the conker also represents potential. Let us think about our own potential. For this conker to grow into a tree and produce other conkers, it needs the right soil, rain, and sun. We know how to make this conker grow into a tree, but what do we need for our potential to grow? What is our soil like? Our environment? Our values? Our friends and family? Do they encourage and support us? Are they there for us in times of difficulty? Do we have role models? Do we know what we want to achieve? Whatever our potential, look upon this conker as a representation of what we can offer.
This conker is so much more than a seed. We are also much more than what people see first of all. Conkers contain aesculin, which Doctor Google, the source of my information, advises is a blood thinner and counters water retention. This conker contains anti-oxidants, which prevent cell damage and contains. It is twenty times stronger than vitamin C in the fight against free radicals. Wrinkles are diminished after a minimum of 4 weeks of use. Horse chestnuts strengthen hair roots and accelerate hair growth. Apparently, it is also a treatment for varicose veins and haemorrhoids. Also, the horse chestnut was so named because its seeds were once used to treat ailments in horses. So within this one conker, through the brilliance of science, there is the opportunity for healing.
I understand that the saponins in conkers are soap-like chemicals that are sometimes added to shampoos and shower gels. If you put a conker in your wardrobe, the triterpenoid saponin wards off moths. Fresh conkers, as they dry, emit the moth repellent. In Victorian times, the shells were ground and used to make flour. This is not recommended because conkers are poisonous. As we continue our meditation, think about how we can heal others. What inner strengths do we have? Have we been poisonous to other people? Should we be seeking forgiveness because we have hurt someone, even unintentionally?
For the final part of our meditation, put a cross on the conker. The cross of Jesus reminds us that Jesus has CONKERED death. Let us use this conker to think about how we conquer evils. Reflect upon Romans 12:21, “don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” Remember the words of Jeremiah 15:20, “they will not conquer you for I am with you to protect and rescue you.” Psalm 91:10 says, “no evil will conquer you”. This conker represents eternal life. Jesus has conquered death through his resurrection, and as Christians, we can be reassured that, though we may die physically, our life continues in spiritually heaven.
This humble conker, which in autumn you can see on the ground in plentiful supply, offers so much just as we offer so much. Everywhere we go, we can spread the gospel of the good news that Jesus has conquered death. We demonstrate this in our way of living: our positive attitude and ability to heal others by being there for them, walking alongside them and praying with them. Amen.
This sermon was first preached by Reverend Martin Wheadon at Wanstead United Reformed Church on 9th October 2022
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Rev'd Martin Wheadon