There’s something very civilised about receiving an invitation with an RSVP on it! “Répondez s’il vous plait.” We’ve had several invitations recently from friends of ours who are getting married and naturally, there is an RSVP attached to each one – it would be rude of us to ignore it or forget to respond.
Invitations are out there to our next Alpha Course starting on Thursday 15th September at 7.30pm. We have dinner together, provided by our wonderful catering team, with wine or soft drinks. We then watch a short video and chat informally around tables. Alpha is a great refresher course for those wanting to be reminded of their Christian faith and is great for those who want to explore the faith in a non threatening, informal atmosphere. The Alpha film series is presented by Toby Flint, a Curate from Holy Trinity Brompton and Gemma Hunt, a CBBC TV presenter alongside Nicky Gumbel. The course has proved popular in Quainton, with 8 people signing up for the first one last year, 18 for the second one at the George in the autumn and 26 for the one that has recently finished. It’s open to all and it’s free.
One of the greatest British painters of the Victorian era was the Pre-Raphaelite artist Holman Hunt. His most famous work, “Light Of The World” was probably painted in the garden of Oxford University Press in the 1850’s and was later donated to Keble College where it now hangs. It was based on the depiction of Jesus in the Book of Revelation in the Bible, where Jesus says to the church in Laodicea, “Behold I stand at the door and knock.”
Hunt portrays Jesus, robed in splendour, standing outside the door in a tangled and overgrown garden. He is holding a lantern and wanting to come in. Hunt stated that he purposely did not paint a handle on the outside of the door, for only the individual inside can open the door and invite the visitor in. Jesus will never impose himself. He waits to be welcomed.
It is said that the elderly Holman Hunt was upset when Keble Collage began charging people to see the painting, so he began another, larger version which was installed in St Paul’s Cathedral in 1908 during a special service which included the reading from Revelation 3:20, “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him and he with me.”
Many years later the painting went to be cleaned from all the grime seeping into the Cathedral from traffic around St Paul’s. When the restorer removed the frame and the moulding, there, in the script at the bottom, painted by the artist Hunt and to be seen by the Lord alone, was this prayer:
“Forgive me Lord Jesus that I kept you waiting so long.”
May God bless you and all those you care for.