In Contemplation of the Crucifix and Cross

During 2019 I visited St. Albans Church, Beacon Hill for Acorn services.  I noticed that they had both a Crucifix and a Cross in prominent places.  This reawakened my thinking about both symbols related to Easter time.

If you enter Roman Catholic, Orthodox and High Anglican Churches you will find that the Crucifix is the predominant symbol; whereas Non-Conformist and Low Anglican Churches favor the Cross.

I feel that we need to honor and cherish both symbols.

When I look upon a Crucifix, I am reminded that Jesus was a real Human Being, and not an idea.

He suffered humiliation, desertion by friends, insults, whipping and finally an unwarranted execution.   While he died for all mankind, when I look upon a crucifix it reminds me,  He did it for me! ME!

The Crucifix brings me to that point of exceptional Love meeting Mankind’s cruelty.   The sight of the body on the cross somehow makes it more real to me.  I am drawn to Good Friday.  Jesus, wholly Man ( and mysteriously wholly God) , underwent it all to mend the relationship between us and God.

But, as we believe, it wasn’t the End.  We have Easter Sunday. The Resurrection declaring new life with God.  For this I need the empty Cross.  This declares the Victory of Christ.  Where the dualism of Christ being wholly Man while wholly God becomes more clear. Also with the empty cross I see there is room for me on the cross, room to put aside myself and embrace Christ’s victory,  claim the new life for myself through Him.

For me the two symbols span the Easter message.

Just as we need both Good Friday and Easter Sunday, and cannot embrace one without the other so I believe we should cherish both the Crucifix  and the Cross as symbols of those days, but also as a means to contemplate deeper the meanings of both days.

I believe that we need to honor and cherish both symbols equally. Above All its all about HIM.

From Hilton

Technophobia by Juliet Bohun

Oh dear! When it comes to technology, I am not very bright. I do have a degree but not in IT.

I have had a computer for about twenty years now and have always been able to use it to ask Google, to receive and send emails, to buy things from Amazon, to book hotels, to do research into family history and for limited word processing. A few years ago, my daughter bought me a tablet which I love and use all the time. I have also used a mobile phone for twenty years but only acquired a smart phone two years ago. So, now I am surrounded by all my devices and my dining room has become an office.

However, for a year now, I have been severely challenged. Who on earth had heard of Zoom a year ago? Not to mention RingCentral meetings and Google Meet. Fear and trepidation whenever I first tried to get onto Zoom. We still have our moments! I also joined Facebook last year which brought with it Messenger which I use to speak to friends and family all the time and can actually see them, too. It can also be used for group meetings which is useful. My main achievement more recently has been to record readings and prayers for our church Zoom services. I do have my limitations though. I am not able to set up and host a Zoom meeting and most embarrassingly, I cannot answer my mobile phone! I also dread having to buy any new appliance albeit washing machine or television. I have also not yet mastered internet banking either. Use of technology – always a challenge!

But, where would we be without all this technology? Isolated. Church services, prayer meetings, PCC meetings and Deanery Synod, courses, home group, seeing friends and family, entertainment, quizzes on Kahoot. I must say also, that I am somewhat relieved not to have to turn out to meetings on cold, wintry evenings or  snowy Sunday mornings! So, I shall keep on working to improve my technology and try and overcome my fear!

See you in the chat room!

 

Hold Fast

I was talking to a stranger on my recent walk and told her about the Derbyshire village of Eyam.  In the 16th Century the Black Death (Plague) spread about the known world. An infected cloth arrived and brought the plague to the village, with great courage they decided to isolate themselves buying produce at the parish boundary in jars of vinegar.

Over 70% of the village died, but the plague didn’t spread to the surrounding area.

More recently Spanish flu spread across the world (many of our Canadian servicemen war graves died of the flue in service after WW1). So many died across the world. So to Covid – this is NOT the first Plague to attack the world.

How are your hopes at this time? Are you looking down or looking up?

I’m a fan of Sea Shanties. HOLD FAST was often the cry. Keep on course, see it through. Courage through the storm and hope for tomorrow.

So what for today?  Our ancestors stood the test. Tomorrow came! Some believed it was the end days, whilst many just thanked God. They saw it through with honour. We follow the rules and isolate as requested, BUT trust our GOD to see us through.

Our task is to HOLD FAST. Fast (strong) to the experts advice. Fast to the protection of all we love. Fast to our God who has promised to walk with us in the dark places and take us out into light and hope. Fast to a Saviour who never fails us.

Hold Fast.

He has promised to never leave us.

HOLD FAST

Jesus can still ANY storm.

Melting Snowman

Melting Snowmen

I was out walking and saw several snowmen melting into the earth. I started thinking of us ( keep reading it’s not miserable!). Snowmen are created with a lot of love. Each one is crafted individually with their own shape and context. They give joy at their “birth” and happy memories when they go. In many ways we are the same. Our Creator takes delight in making us completely individual, (but thankfully without carrot noses!). He creates us in love, and stands back with joy. We are celebrated by our family and friends for the season and then move onwards to our homecoming to join water/mist  which is often the image “Water of Life etc”. So I’m celebrating Snowmen. I don’t know when I’ll melt into the earth, but I know my Creator will be there. He will see the joy and love I’ve spread and prepared to dance with me.

Let melting snowmen give you hope.

Hilton

To Spring by Elaine Heptonstall

We moved into our present house in March last year so I spent time in the garden seeing what was growing already and planting bulbs for this Spring.  Already there are shoots of irises, crocuses, snowdrops and daffodils and I’m impatient to see them in flower!

Daily I walk around looking at progress: a millimetre here, another shoot there, then a sharp frost checks everything.  How long, I wonder, will I have to wait.

But I’m not the only one waiting, there are the bees and the insects too and, one day, the sun will feel warm again, the grip of winter will relax, and the flowers will bloom for their insect visitors and for me.

The pandemic has locked in our lives like that sharp frost and we may feel that we’re going nowhere at the moment.  But there is growth, a spreading of roots underground in different directions – it may be in technology, in learning how to do things differently, in taking up a new interest.  As Christians we are often told to “Wait patiently for the Lord”, “to watch and pray”  it’s not easy, but it’s at times like these when we can draw closer in our relationship with God and listen to what his plans are for our lives and those around us.  In his loving presence we can look forward to Spring.

Elaine Heptonstall