The Two Seas

By Roger Stapenhill

The other day I saw a mention of two seas, both in Palestine and it set me thinking, so more about them later.

One date firmly imbedded in my mind is February 5th 1953. It was probably the happiest day for a good number of schoolboys and girls for many a year.  It was the day sweets came off ration and I remember walking home from school along Canterbury High Street where a younger lad (by about two years) was standing with a bag of sweets in his hand.


“Have a sweet.” He said smiling from ear to ear.

“No thanks.”  I probably wanted to be polite.

He pushed the bag under my nose.  “Go on, have a sweet, they’re off ration now, we can have as many as we like.” And he looked really thrilled to be able to share his good fortune with me.


Rationing was a hard time but we always seemed to manage.  Mum would invite someone for tea.  “Thanks,” they’d say, “I’ll bring a cake.”  They would never come without something to share.

My sister or somebody would need new clothes and there weren’t quite enough coupons.  There was always someone who would ‘loan’ some to you.  It was a really good time for sharing.


I remember my uncle who worked on a farm where they kept pigs.  Come slaughter time he was allowed some of the chitterlings, but he would share his good fortune with us and probably with other families as well.  In return, my father kept chickens and rabbits, Cockerels for Christmas (plucked and drawn, they made good Christmas presents), hens for the eggs and rabbits for meat. The eggs he shared with others whenever there was a surfeit and never asked for payment.


Helen and I went as aid workers in Romania, just after Ceauşescu was overthrown and things were very tough for the Romanian people.  Many living were in poverty with whole families living in one or two rooms but there was this atmosphere of giving and sharing.  We gave our time and they in return wanted to give us gifts.  It might be something they’d had in the family for years but they wanted to share what they had with others and always did it with a smile.


An Australian family had gone there to live as aid workers and after a few days, the wife knocked on a neighbours door to borrow some sugar.  She was immediately given a fair quantity in a bag.  It wasn’t until later she discovered that it was all that lady had got and that it hadn’t been on sale for over six months but again, no arguments and it was given willingly with a smile.  It was good to help other people.



Father Elvis recently shared part of his vestments with our own vicar after he showed a special liking to his stole, giving it to him without a second thought.


Jesus shared his ministry, no where in the Bible does it say that he begrudged doing so, in fact he actually sent his disciples out to share his good work for him and to receive no payment.


Giving and sharing should be what life is all about, but it does seem strange that we have to live in adverse times to realise it.  Jesus showed us how but perhaps ‘keeping up with the Jones’s’ is more important.  What do you think?


Oh yes,  the two seas in Palestine.  One is fresh and vibrant, full of fish and a good place to live.  The other is sour, nothing lives in it or along its shores, yet both are fed by the same river.  The river Jordan.  It flows into the sea of Galilee, which takes what water it needs and releases it to flow on and into the Dead Sea.  This sea retains all it takes and gives nothing away and that to me is how some people choose to live.  What sort of sea are you?