This old barn has seen better days. Weather -beaten boards and thatching with a collection of old cart wheels leaning against the walls. Looking rather forgotten it stands, full of character, as a reminder of bygone days.
This barn stands in the Sussex based Weald and Downland Museum with unassuming dignity, where it belongs, alongside other ancient reminders of our farming history. Inside we expect to see old corn sacks and bales of hay and straw, perhaps a pair of barn owls nesting in the roof space and mice scuttling about among the spilled grains of wheat on the floor. However, many different traditional trades are represented by this working barn, most of them lost, a thing of the past, but not all. The whole Museum is a fascinating reminder of past days in rural Sussex, Hampshire, Surrey and Kent- the area covered by the South and North Downs and the Weald. Old trades are brought to life again here to be preserved. The rural crafts of wheelwrights and carters, thatchers and threshers, dairymen and ploughmen, carpenters, blacksmiths, shepherds and many more.
The Repair Shop.
Just an old barn? But don’t judge by the outside of things – look inside. A recent series of popular BBC programmes ‘The Repair Shop‘ has brought this beautiful old place into the limelight, as the interior is transformed into a magical workshop where ‘miracles’ regularly take place. In the programme items that seem hopelessly broken, some of them of great personal value with deep family histories, are put together as new by a panel of expert crafts people. It seems nothing is too hard for them to repair and to put back in use. The faces of the customers say everything as they leave the barn with their beautifully restored items. There are smiles and tears as happy memories of much loved family members are revived and lost items are restored.
I remember hearing about such a repair shop with the poster on its window:
‘Here we repair everything except broken hearts.’
But there is Someone who can do even that and more.
He was born in an out of the way place like this unassuming old barn, yet his arrival was the event that divided history into BC/AD. The Eternal entered Time quietly by the ‘back door’. No fuss or publicity. Unnoticed except by a few. The world’s only true Hope arriving in weakness to rescue us and this broken Creation.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.’Matthew 11:28-30
Jesus comes to bring hope because he always delights in mending broken things. His ‘Repair Shop’ is always open to bring hope for the hopeless. Broken people flocked to him and he healed all who came. Lives were restored and there were happy faces as diseases were healed, failures and weaknesses forgiven, replaced by peace and joy. Jesus the Master Craftsman is still in business!
Wishing you healing peace this Christmas and, after another difficult year for us all, a much better 2022.
Thank you for your support this past year.
Do visit the Weald and Downland Museum
Top barn photo by Barry Shimmon -Geograph