Lent Journal – Day 38

Salisbury Cathedral – Statue of the “walking Madonna” by Elizabeth Frink
Image by Kentishman

Today is Maundy Thursday.  This morning I will be at Salisbury Cathedral renewing my ordination vows.  Outside the cathedral is a sculpture by Elizabeth Frink – ‘The Walking Madonna’ and I will make a point of going to see her.  She takes me back to a lecture by Rosalind Brown, which I attended shortly before I was priested.  She used the image of this sculpture to talk about vocation and priesthood, pointing out that Mary is positioned with her back to the cathedral facing the city.  Frink describes Mary “Walking with purposeful compassion as a member of the Community of the Risen Christ to bring love where love is absent”.  And so we were reminded of our calling as Christians to go out.
Go out, don’t stay inside.  It’s so tempting to stay safely within ‘church’.  Yet our calling is to be looking outwards, going out, being among all people.
And that ‘purposeful compassion’?  That’s what appeals to me about this sculpture; that sense of purpose and confidence.  Not arrogance, but quiet, inner strength, which comes from believing that we proclaim a Risen Christ. 
Today is Maundy Thursday and we walk an ever-darkening path with Jesus to the cross on Good Friday, through the stillness of Holy Saturday.  But we will come to the joy of the empty tomb and the risen Christ on Easter Sunday.  Walking the whole journey is significant; don’t skip ahead.  Remember R.S Thomas’ words: “The meaning is in the waiting.”