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Keeping Wonder Alive & A Book Giveaway!

We stood admiring the colour and narrative in the grand windows. An elderly woman with her middle aged daughter began to leave, the older woman commented loudly that she didn't see the appeal 'too modern', 'childlike'.

Our circuit on the Covid-friendly tour of Canterbury Cathedral was drawing to an end. We came into the final area beholding quietly the vibrant glass panels. Beautifully saturated colours, bold in design and telling a story not usually expected in this setting. We read the little plaque that renowned artist Ervin Bossanyi was commissioned to design the 'Salvation' and 'Peace' windows (1956), the former depicting the emancipation of jews from the Nazi concentration camps. Bossanyi himself was interned in France during World War I as an "enemy alien" - he was originally a Hungarian Jew. Bossanyi escaped Nazi Germany in the 1930's. You can read more about his legacy and the two windows here, stunning. Elizabeth Goudge fans would be interested to know he also designed a window which sits in Ely Cathedral.



They were indeed different in style, how could they not be, centuries spanned their installation and that of the others. As we turned to leave a male voice from behind us spoke, "Would you like me to tell you more about the windows you're looking at?". Not missing the opportunity for a personal guide we jumped at the offer!

As he pointed and walked us through the details it was as if our eyes were opened afresh and we saw them as they truly were for the first time; the whites of the eyes in the desperate prisoners, the haste to leave seen in the knocking over of the water vessel, family members waiting to be reunited, a lighted area around the liberator appearing as angel wings, the heavy doors flung wide, barbed wire, a broken chain, a man clutching his bible, the serpent slithering away bottom right, the candle which symbolised the coming light. They were suddenly breathtaking, alive! "Is that a swastiker shape in the padlock key hole?" my son asked. He was taken aback, it was his planned last point to draw our attention to and apparently people don't usually spot it. It's in the second and third window squares down on the left hand side, can you see it?

There are many more wonderful details I could point out, you can read about them in the link above if you're interested.

I came away from that encounter uplifted and fed in my soul. We had stood in awe and wonder as he skilfully unpacked the story like a gift before us. Two thoughts struck me and began to bubble up in my heart over the following days.

Firstly: my need for a guide.

I was reminded of the Ethiopian eunuch spoken of in the bible. This particular man is sitting in his chariot reading heaven sent words, the most incredible life changing words ever encountered. He's a diligent student yet doesn't understand what he's reading. Though he study, re-read and pour over them, with all his efforts their deeper meaning remains distant, lifeless. Then, it's as if we're in God's classroom and God the teacher looks over at his young pupil to see him struggling. He gestures to his TA Philip as if to say, 'Hey, go lend that chap a hand will you'. Philip literally springs into action, *keen as mustard!

"Philip ran up and heard the man reading the prophet Isaiah, and asked,

“Do you understand what you are reading?” The Ethiopian replied,

Well, how could I understand unless someone guides me correctly?”

And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. **

What we see now is the unfolding of truth as if hidden in plain sight, skilfully revealed by a guide who brings his student into a fullness of understanding. I can imagine the joy, the relief, the sense of enlightenment at that exchange.

Sometimes I struggle on and on with something trying to figure things out for myself when what I need is a guide, a skilled mentor, someone to come alongside and help me understand what it is I'm wrestling over. I'm