RESURRECTION is about nothing if it is not about irresistible life bursting forth in people, and out of “tombs”, and out of our millions of daily deaths, and from other most unlikely places. And the food of life is unconditional love. And Love of that sort emanates from the all embracing Heart of an eternally creating God. God bears “blame” for any lack of love by “minding the gap” with what one of our favourite hymns calls Immortal Love, forever full, forever flowing free; forever shared, forever whole, a never ebbing sea. And that kind of Love, in human form, looks like, acts like, speaks like, listens like, prays like, heals like, laughs like, offers hospitality like, weeps like, dies like, and altogether lives like Jesus.

During this season we’re hugely blessed to welcome the artist Stephen Raw – and some of his work – into our hearts and family home. We’ll be hearing more about Stephen and his life and work over the coming weeks, but for now I want to commend to your attention and care-full eye his artwork of George Herbert’s fabulous Love bade me welcome – presently exhibited behind the font in our lantern tower.

For the passion, crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth are not just about Him. They’re also about us. They happen to us, to some degree or another, every day of our lives. That’s what Jesus himself taught. Son of Man. He and we are of the same sort. And just when we feel at our most unworthy, just when we feel that our fully human “eye” has caused us most fully to fall into “dust and sin”, just then we’re most likely to notice that “quick-ey’d Love” is smilingly beckoning us in. “Who made the eyes but I?”

And we shall want to remember. And we shall want to serve that kind of life and that kind of Love Whom we now dare to address as “my dear”. We shall want to serve that kind of life and that kind of Love by offering similarly gracious hospitality, following the example of the one Who, for our sustenance offers us his “meat”. And that is indeed a tall task! Radical hospitality is no mean feat! Let’s remember though, when we find the going tough, that our ultimate end is to “sit”, basking in the light of the first of countless Easter mornings – there to “sit and eat”. And in this eucharistic feast – here on earth and then in Heaven – we shall know the depths of God’s solemnity and the heights of God’s life-giving joy at one and the same time …

Love bade me welcome, yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-ey’d Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
If I lack’d anything.

“A guest,” I answer’d, “worthy to be here”;
Love said, “You shall be he.”
“I, the unkind, the ungrateful? ah my dear,
I cannot look on thee.”
Love took my hand and smiling did reply,
“Who made the eyes but I?”

“Truth, Lord, but I have marr’d them; let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.”
“And know you not,” says Love, “who bore the blame?”
“My dear, then I will serve.”
“You must sit down,” says Love, “and taste my meat.”
So I did sit and eat.

George Herbert, priest and poet, 1593 -1633

May you know that your self-giving and service in Lent, Passiontide, Holy Week and Easter, with and for our Christ, will be blessed richly – by God’s New Life. And may our household of faith, New every morning, now and in all eternity, pray a joy-filled ALLELUIA!

for Bramhall Parish News