Shell collecting on St James' Day
If you go to the beach, spend some time collecting shells. See how many different whole shells you can collect. You might like to take a shell book and see if you can work out what used to live in the shells. If the tide is out for long enough and you are on a sandy beach, you could use the shells to make a picture in the sand. Or you could take all your shells home and make them into a little museum for a day or two as a reminder of your trip. Lay them out carefully on some blue paper or cloth.
Shells remind us of St James. He was a fisherman who went to be one of Jesus' disciples and was with Jesus for three years. You can read his story in the Bible in St Matthew's gospel, chapter 8 (or you might like to find it in a children's bible).
Spanish people are especially fond of St James and people used to travel from all over Europe to visit the Cathedral at Santiago de Compostela where he is particularly remembered. In pictures he is often shown as a pilgrim wearing a cloak, with a hat to keep off the sun, a gourd full of wine, a stick to help him along and a scallop shell to remind him of being a fisherman, called by Jesus. Perhaps you draw him yourself.
Here is a special St James prayer:
Dear God, help us to remember how James left everything he had to follow Jesus: help us to be ready to do whatever needs to be done. Amen.
Revd Nigel Tuffnell