” Yon’s our house, Master Davy !”
I looked in all directions, as far as I could stare over the wilderness, and away at the sea… but no house could I make out. There was a boat, not far off, high and dry on the ground, with an iron funnel sticking out of it for a chimney and smoking very cosily, but nothing else…
“That’s not it ?” said I, ” that ship-looking thing ?”
” That’s it, Master Davy,” returned Ham.
So Ham Peggotty introduces David to his home on Yarmouth beach in Charles Dickens David Copperfield. A cosy upturned boat, the Peggotty’s home, becomes for a while Davy’s home.
When a class of children from the school come into St Chrysostom’s Church I often say ‘Look up!’ and often they are surprised by the height of the church and also by the roof. ‘What is it like?’ and often a child replies ‘A Boat.’
This is our spiritual home, a boat anchored here in our community. It has been anchored here for 142 years and it is our spiritual home, and a place of welcome for all. God dwells among us and our church, our ‘upturned boat’ is a sign, a sacramental sign, of home, God’s home, our home here.
This church has weathered many storms. There was a struggle to build it. Then it suffered a great fire. For a while support dwindled. It remains anchored here, a place of spirituality, wonder, welcome and prayer. Some come and stay for a long time here, some pass through, some work hard to keep things ‘ship shape’ and ordered, others go out renewed in faith and serve others.
Today we are joyful in our thanks to God for this church, and for ourselves too – part of this church. We encourage one another as companions, travellers together. ‘Make out’ this upturned boat to be your home. Delight to be here.
When Davy enters the house Mr Peggotty welcomes him: “Well, Sir, if you can make out here … we shall be proud of your company”
Look around, at one another “we are proud of your company…”
To us here, welcomed by God into this house of prayer, God too says ‘I am proud of your company.’