I tend to think that if something is free, then there is either a catch or the item isn't up to much. So when Lynne came home from the Honiton show with 2 Serama cockerels which were free to a good home I immediately wondered what was wrong with them!

Six years  on I am pleased to announce that there is absolutely nothing wrong with them and they are a complete joy, bringing  endless pleasure with their cheeky but friendly way of joining guests for afternoon tea, or sitting on the table quietly while the guests read. They might not have the most melodious crow but they are real characters. Their only fault is that they don't lay eggs and that is what most folks wanted so they ended up surplus to requirements and their future wouldn't have been bright!  So free can be good and Coffee and Walnut as we named them are a constant reminder that actually some of the most precious things in life are free - or at least they can't be bought, they can only be received and made room for. 

And some things that are free to us today have been very costly to others in the past. Our right to vote is free but women, especially, suffered long and hard to earn that for us. The freedom of racial equality, (still work in progress in many places) has been an incredibly painful journey and many  have had to stand up (or sit down in Rosa Parks’ case) to great persecution for that gift to be free to others.  And ultimately, love, grace, forgiveness, and all the things that the cross of Christ bring us, are all free but they came at a terrible price. They don't rely on us having earned them or having deserved them and that is why it can seem almost too good to be true.  Like most things that are free- there must be a catch, surely. The catch, if there is one, is that we have to lay down our pride at wanting to earn, deserve, or merit these things -and just receive, sometimes cautiously at first, sometimes with an overwhelming sense of thankfulness. Free doesn't have to mean cheap or worthless - it can be the very opposite. And free can be shared as I reminded by in the chorus 'Freely, freely, you have received. Freely, freely give. Go in my name and because you believe, others may know that I live’.

Here's to Coffee and Walnut and to all the free things in life. Enjoy them, celebrate them and share them!