Risen Conquering Son
Dear Minster and Friends
Our Easter season this year at the Minster is entitled ‘Endless Victory’ – a phrase taken from one of the most loved and famous Easter hymns in the English language:
Thine be the glory, risen, conquering Son;
endless is the victory, thou o’er death hast won;
angels in bright raiment rolled the stone away,
kept the folded grave clothes where thy body lay.
Thine be the glory, risen conquering Son,
Endless is the vict’ry, thou o’er death hast won.
Lo! Jesus meets us, risen from the tomb;
Lovingly he greets us, scatters fear and gloom;
let the Church with gladness, hymns of triumph sing;
for her Lord now liveth, death hath lost its sting. Refrain
No more we doubt thee, glorious Prince of life;
life is naught without thee; aid us in our strife;
make us more than conquerors, through thy deathless love:
bring us safe through Jordan to thy home above. Refrain
And the image we have designed is reminiscent of a Rothko painting – with gold and red panels placed alongside each other with a faint cross emerging between the two. As an artist, Rothko was someone who tried to create visual and existential moments by placing blocks of colours beside each other.
For us these two represent the Easter weekend. In the blood-red panel, look up close and you can see the wood grain of good Friday, and in the gold panel the shimmering folds of gold leaf. The sacrifice of Friday gives way to the glory of resurrection and the cross was the way there. We as Christians get to share this endless victory because Jesus death and resurrection was effective in the present and the future not just an event of the past. That’s why we sing- because Jesus died for us and rose to guarantee our present and future.
Last week, a group of us from Latimer Minster and The OCCA had the awesome privilege of flying out to Östersund, North Sweden, to meet with churches, university students, and the people of Östersund, sharing the love of Jesus and answering big questions.
Östersund is a town situated around the seventh largest lake in Sweden. For the majority of the year, the lake is frozen over and people will walk, cycle, skate, and even drive across the lake to reach the island of Frösön. The beauty of this place is breathtaking; ice glittering beneath your feet, and a horizon of blue mountains.
According to our hosts, Sweden is a place where, like the lake, people tend to skim over the surface of the deep, not asking questions, not searching, not seeking-, just keeping themselves to themselves, not wanting to offend or criticize the point of view of another. Over the course of the week, we prayed for God to be melting the ice of indifference, to be drawing people to himself. We saw change. We saw cracks begin to appear across the surface of people’s worldviews as they understood for the first time that perhaps it was possible to be a scientist and to believe in God. We answered questions from the depths of the human heart on suffering, the reliability of the Bible, and the concept of faith being a psychological crutch for the weak.
It was truly fascinating to watch God stir hearts. Prophetic words turned into realities, prayers were answered, and eyes were opened to the unbelievable reality of grace. All glory be to God who is building his Kingdom!
This Sunday 9th
So looking forward to a feast after church this Sunday. All who come to the Palm Sunday service are invited to stay as guests of the Sharp family who are throwing a party to celebrate the dedication of Caspian during the service. I’m reminded of Jesus parables in Luke 15 , where ladies, shepherds and farmers throw parties for their friends and neighbours when sons and sheep and coins are found. Please stay around and enjoy their hospitality even if you are visiting with friends. Then, hobbit-like, you can always have a second lunch!