(c) Copyright 2006 Rev. Bill Versteeg
This morning I have a story for you, but for you to remember the story, I need you to learn a totally new language. Not a whole new language, but just a short sentence out of a new language. Every time I say the word “belong”, I want you to say together - LaYahwah Ha’Arets, as you get used to it, I hope you will say it all by yourself. That means “To the Lord belongs the world” and that is my story is all about. But the way that you are going to remember that that is what my story is all about is by repeating throughout the story every time I say “belong.”
Hanna had spent a whole year at the elementary School and she was so looking forward to graduation, her first time going out of grade 5 to grade 6, and going all the way up the hill to the middle school. It was a big celebration for her family too. She was the oldest child in her family. This would be the first time for her to go to a new school that her brother and sister were not going to. This was kind of a graduation. Mom and Dad were excited. Grandma and Grandpa were excited. To celebrate, there were all going to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for dinner on Thursday night. Grandma could make soup like no-one else could. And the focus of the party would be Hanna and her graduation.
Belong” (next time I say that word, it will be hidden in the story so you have to listen very carefully)
Hanna’s graduation party at Grandma’s came quickly. Supper was delicious, the soup rich with meatballs and flavour. The buns were fresh. Grandma and Grandpa had done their best to throw a great family party.
Every time Hanna went to Grandma’s house, Hanna noticed Grandma’s hands. Yes they were old hands, in spots wrinkled hands, and like Grandma’s beautiful white hair, they seemed never to have a sun tan, and Hanna could always see the bluish streaks of blood vessels on the top of her hands, but her slender fingers were always beautiful - not so much because they were old, but because they were strong and slender and loving and wise fingers and because Grandma always had a few silver rings on each hand. Hanna noticed that some of the rings were different each time she saw Grandma.
When her soup was finished, Hanna asked: “Grandma, where did you get your rings from?”
Grandma paused, looked down at Hanna from her dainty cup of coffee, smiled and pointing to her left hand responded:
“This ring on my pinkie
came from my Father. He made it for me. This ring on my second finger
came from Ed (Hanna’s Grandpa) and it means that I
belong to him because he is my husband. See he has a ring on
the same finger, that means that he belongs to
me.” Then pointing to the two especially beautiful
rings on her right hand she added: “And these I made
The rest of dinner seemed to take too long. Desert was good, but it took too long to eat. The dinner devotions that Grandpa read were these:
1 The earth belongs
to the LORD, and everything in it,
And even that short devotion and prayer took too long. Hanna wanted to see how Grandma made silver rings.
The dishes were cleaned up, Hanna’s brother and sister were playing with one of the many old toys Grandma stocked in the closet, finally Grandma said “Hanna, lets go.” They went downstairs to a tiny room that Hanna had never been in before. In it there was a workbench filled with tools, files, pliers, hammers, wire, cutters, a tiny torch, powders, metals and clamps. All those tools did not look very interesting to Hanna until she noticed a small bright shiny new ring laying in a glass of water.
“Did you make that one too?” Hanna asked.
“Yes..., I did.” And taking it out of the water, Grandma added; “Let’s see if I made it the right size.” And with that she took Hanna’s right hand, and slid the ring onto her pinkie. It fit perfectly. “Hanna, this ring is for you. It belongs to you. Congratulations on your graduation.”
Hanna was eager to go show her mom but before she could, Grandma picked up a tiny blue box and turning back to Hanna said “I have one more thing for you.”
She opened the box and in it was the most beautiful necklace that Hanna had ever seen, all silver with a sparkling glint of gold. Grandma took the necklace and carefully put it around Hanna’s neck. “You can wear this tomorrow during your graduation chapel at school, but I want you to be very careful with it because it belongs to me. I love you!”
Grandma could not keep up with
Hanna. Hanna was running up the stairs as fast as she could calling
“Mom, Mom, look what Grandma gave me!” Together
they went to the washroom and noticed in the mirror how the ring and
the necklace made Hanna feel beautiful. And Hanna noticed, almost for
the first time that her own Mom had a silver ring around her pinkie,
just like her new one. Yes, Grandma had given her one too. But then Mom
corrected Hanna, “Remember, the necklace belongs
to Grandma. Be careful with it.”
The next morning came quickly. It was the last chapel of the year. Those who were graduating to the middle school, the grade 5s were going to sing in chapel. She was going to wear her good dark blue dress. The silver necklace laying against it was stunning.
When she got to school, hardly anyone noticed the new ring around her finger, everyone noticed the brilliant small heart on the necklace against her dress. Her friends wanted to see it, touch it. Some said “Can I wear it?” Hanna said “No.”
Again and again, Hanna had to remind her friends to be very careful when touching it. It was not her own. The necklace belonged to her Grandma.
During chapel, Hanna touched her necklace every once and a while just to make sure it was still there and it had not fallen off. She was being very careful with it. With all the attention she was paying to the necklace, it was as if she felt Grandma saying to her “I love you!” every time she touched it.
Hanna learned, jumped and played her way through the day. All day long the necklace hung around her neck, going wherever she went, reminded her of her Grandma, reminding her of her Grandma’s capable hands that had made her ring and the necklace she was wearing, reminding her of her Grandma’s love for her.
When the day of celebration was over, Hanna was tired and ready for bed. She went to a mirror to one more time look at the beautiful necklace - but the necklace suddenly wasn’t there! There was no silver heart, there was nothing, just her dark blue dress. Tears burst into Hanna’s eyes. “Where did it go?” What happened to it?” She did not take it off all day. It had been there while she played, even while she watched half an hour of TV after supper. Where did it go? Grandma made it. It belonged to Grandma!
Crying, she ran down to her mother who carefully held her shoulders and asked “Where did you see it last?”
“When I was watching TV, I was playing with it around my neck. I never took it off Mom, I was being careful.” Mom looked in her eyes and knew she was telling the whole truth. And then Mom seeing a glint of silver smiled. The beautiful necklace was still around Hanna’s neck, with all of Hanna’s playing, it had fallen inside her dress, just a little closer to Hanna’s heart. With tears of joy, Hanna looked at the necklace with her Mom.
“There is something
special about this necklace - did you notice?” Mom asked.
With that, Mom showed Hanna that on the side of the small heart on the necklace was a little crack, and when Mom placed her fingernail into the crack, the crack opened, the heart opened and inside the heart was a tiny tiny picture. (Can you guess who was in that tiny picture?)
In the heart was a tiny picture of Hanna! Hanna couldn’t believe pictures could be made so small. Yes, there was a tiny picture of Hanna.
“I thought this necklace belonged
to Grandma.” Hanna said with a sense of question.
“And I belong to God.” Hanna added.
“So I have to be careful
with myself, just like I have to be careful with this
(NIV) Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright (C) 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.