13th March

Martin – Rose Chasuble by Yvonne Bell (Commissioned by Diana Davis)

Rose vestments are a wonderful extravagance for two Sundays a year; Gaudete Sunday (3rd Sunday of Advent), and Laetare Sunday (4th Sunday of Lent, Mothering Sunday).

To my mind a work of art, an aspect of our worship, and a symbol, or actually many symbols. In someways rather like stained glass windows we see in many churches, and you may have been missing.

It is in the style of Henri Matisse who designed a chapel in Vence in Southern France which opened in 1951, and also designed a full set of vestments. Any of you who saw the Matisse Cut Outs exhibition a few years ago may remember the paper maquettes for the chasubles.
The particularly symbols on here are:

  • at the front – set against blue: the cross, the lamb, two stars, representing creation and the heavens, and two other symbols, again to do with creation, and plants, on the stole turning towards the tree of life, and in white the leaf shape, again new life.
  • at the back – again against blue: in the middle the cross, below that the crown of thorns, and 2 stars, and in white, further down the dove, the sign of the Holy Spirit, and also, at the sides, different flowers all representing life and creation.

So the design tells a story, the story of creation and life, of wonder and praise. And also the story of Christ who wore a crown of thorns, who suffered on the cross, who is the Lamb of God. And the Trinity of Creator, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The colours to me are of joy, and of vibrancy, the material is a beautiful silk. I hope it can bring a smile to your face, and also provoke interest, and even praise. Gaudete, and Laetare, both mean rejoice, and are points of light and joy in the sombre periods of Advent and Lent. So join us
tomorrow at 10am for our celebration.

I hope that when we return to our buildings in the future that you can see with new eyes the decorations, the stained glass, the vestments and altar frontals, and be inspired again by the part they play in our worship, and not to see them as just some strange hangover from the past!