Below is the Rector’s letter for February, you can download the February Magazine here.
During the later part of the season of Epiphany our readings on a Sunday give us glimpses of the glory still to come. We have welcomed The Babe and all people have seen his glory; from the lowly shepherds, to the foreign Magi, to the faithful Jews, Simeon and Anna, now as the season of Epiphany draws to its conclusion we are given glimpses of an even greater glory to come, glimpses of resurrection.
The picture above is from the dramatic West Screen at Coventry Cathedral, where I spent part of my Sabbatical. The artist John Hutton depicts prophets and saints alive once more, between dancing angels, clothed in robes which can also be understood as tattered burial strips. Our Old Testament Reading for 10th February immediately reminded me of this window, however it was only when I looked once more at my photos I realised I had an image of Isaiah that was acceptable (it was not an easy window to photograph). The passage from Isaiah is one of the prophet’s most well known. It is where he conjures up an image of heaven, the seraphs with their six wings singing; “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory.” as they flit around heaven and the Throne. What had struck me about the image in Coventry’s West Screen was how small the seraph was, Isaiah gives us no indication of a size, but I had always imagined them being large creatures, while Hutton’s seraph is knee height and puts me more in mind of a pet than a mighty angel, but I digress.
This time of glimpses of coming glory are given to encourage us, they are set here in the lectionary as reminders to take into Lent. So as we journey through the remainder of Epiphany let us store up these glimpses of God’s glory. Sometimes in a great scene of glory, like Isaiah; sometimes in the more homely rejoicing of a son’s return, like Joseph; through the words of the Beatitudes and the author of the book of Hebrews reminding us that Jesus didn’t come for angels but humans; all being rounded off with the glory of the Transfiguration on 3rd March. God’s glory is all around us, in the small everyday things and in the great events, there to encourage and strengthen, there to help us live as resurrection people, born anew in the power of the Holy Spirit each and every day of our lives, be it Easter, Epiphany or any other season.