It’s good to visit old haunts from time to time, and I found it most beneficial to visit the Boston Spa and Wetherby Methodist churches a few days ago with some of our members from Uppermill. We went to look at some of the innovative work the people there have done on their premises in order to help further their Christian work and witness in their respective communities.
Our family lived in Boston Spa for eleven years and it is a part of the country we appreciate and know very well. I have to confess that I don’t have much building or technical knowledge and I am very grateful to those who do, but I do take an interest in the particular style and décor of a building and it’s special features and furnishings.
I have always been drawn to stained glass windows, and it reminds me of another haunt our family used to visit, which was Ripley Castle, situated about 15 miles north of Boston Spa. The 14th Century Church of All Saints’ is located in the middle of the village and it boasts a fine stained glass window, which portrays three separate aspects of our Lord’s life. The first depicts Christ’s birth, with Mary in the middle surrounded by a group of adoring shepherds gazing at the Babe in the manger. The centrepiece of the window shows Christ on the cross, again with Mary and a group of distraught women looking on. The third section reveals the women arriving at the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus. They look bewildered as they encounter an angel pointing upward signifying that Christ had risen. One could say that our Christian origins are summed up in the three monumental events portrayed in that window, those of birth, death and resurrection.
However, what I also find fascinating is that the stories in the window clearly include ordinary people like you and me. And those everyday people portrayed in such striking light were not put there merely as onlookers, nor were they part of the depiction simply to satisfy our curiosity. What I see are all kinds of feelings and emotions etched
on their faces and I like to think that they proclaim the significance of Jesus for all people.
He enters fully into the anxiety, bewilderment, hope and joy which we experience in our daily lives. We too have a place next to Christ whose story is wrapped up in the lives of ordinary human beings. He is found in the enduring events of birth, death and even life beyond this one. He is also found in the “bits and pieces” that make up the common
round of life. It is said, “every picture tells a story” and I think it is true of the window in Ripley’s All Saints’ Church, which act as a visible reminder that Christ is there to be discovered for each of us in all the changing scenes of life.
Peace and Joy