Rector’s Letter – April 2018

Every face tells a story! I spotted this poster in a chemist shop, it was for face cream! But it immediately struck me as a great theme for a sermon in Holy Week or a letter for In Focus. So if you come along to our Holy Week services you will probably hear a little more of “Every Face Tells a Story!”

The face of Jesus tells a story – those cherub like features in the nativity scene in the main window of the Parish Church. The many depictions of an adult Christ in the other windows in Church, as well as the modern representations of him “Descending from the Cross” and “In Glory” shown in the beautiful glass in our Chapel of Healing.

Christ’s face in Holy Week tells a story of suffering and abuse; of being beaten and tortured, bearing a painful crown of thorns and resolutely walking the path to death – willingly dying for us. Isaiah says “surely he has born our afflictions” Isaiah 53: 4.

One beautiful representation of the face of Christ Crucified is a 1632 painting by Diego Velázquez depicting his crucifixion. The work, painted in oil on canvas, is owned by the Museo del Prado in Madrid.

Art critics assert that the features for this painting are exceptional and masterly in its fusion of serenity, dignity and nobility. The head shows a narrow halo, as if it came from the figure itself; the face is resting on the chest, showing just enough of his features. The long, straight hair covers a great part of the face, perhaps foreshadowing His death.

The face of Jesus tells a serene story of a man abandoning himself to death for a world that has rejected him – but that he loves. My face and your face tell a story: for some in life it can be the bruises of an abusive relationship, that look of rejection by a friend or family member, a scar from an old wound or accident. Some stories are found on the bruises that we bear inside – guilt, hopelessness, loss or shame. The hidden things that are only slight shadows on our faces that we strive everyday to hide.

I’m sure your face tells a story? One day we shall see him face to face! How will he greet you?

May the risen Lord make His face to shine upon you this Holy Week and Easter.

Ian R Gamble