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WHAT A JOY!
More than 150 people visited the exhibition of the artwork of my late wife, Margarita, in the ten hours that it was open. A total of just under £600 was raised through the sale of the postcards of her artwork which, after paying for the cost of printing the cards and the exhibition catalogues, means that £150 each will be given to both Christian Aid and the charity CoHoC, for the work of the Out-Patients Dept. at the Colchester General Hospital.
Of the 25 works of textile art on display, one of the favourites (to judge by visitors' comments) was Seascape - Norfolk, which had been inspired by a family visit to Holkham beach in Norfolk. There is something wonderfully simple about the kind of refreshment we can get by spending some time by the sea. A sense of scale may be restored and we can sense something of an eternal rhythm beyond all our small concerns.
After I had written the catalogue to accompany the Threads of Joy exhibition I discovered some notes written by Margarita about her art. They confirm that it was her response to the glory of God as seen in in the natural world, in a particular place or an ephemeral moment, that inspired her. She wrote:
Psalm 8: 3 - 4
‘When I consider the work of your fingers…’
‘Whether it is reflections in water, shadows, a spider’s web, silhouettes against a colourful sunset, the texture of bark from a variety of trees, a splash of colour from an array of flowers – there is a sense of wonder and a cause for excitement about the glory of God.’
May you know something of the joy and wonder in the glory of God that Margarita had, as you take time with your family or friends in what are now called holidays but were once known as holy-days - being a time when we can set aside our daily cares to reflect, read, and to pray; to be with those whom we love and to be able to review our priorities and consider afresh our plans for whatever future, by God's grace, is to be ours.
For the first time in many years, with the kind support of my colleague Paul Southern, this Summer I shall be able to do what I am commending to you - that is to take time to enjoy holy-days in this way.
Vicar & Lecturer