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Christ in the Wilderness

Reflecting On The Paintings By Stanley Spencer

by Stephen Cottrell

Jacket

Flexiback
Price: £9.99
Publisher:SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
Published:September 2012
ISBN:978-0-281-06208-9
Review:
Stephen Cottrell opens up fruitful avenues for Christian devotion in these thoughtful reflections on 5 paintings out of Stanley Spencer’s series, ‘Christ in the Wilderness’. The 5 are: ‘Rising from sleep in the morning’, ‘Consider the lilies’, the Scorpion’, ‘The Foxes have Holes’ and ‘The Hen’. The paintings portray ‘a profound meditation on the disciplines and delights of prayer’, and, in the case of The Scorpion, a darker meditation on ‘Christ’s acceptance of his vocation to be the one who dies, the one who shares in the sufferings of the world’. Cottrell’s own love for the great artist’s work is unmistakable. The light he sheds on many details of the paintings fuelled my own respect for them too. Among other helpful things, he identifies the biblical background of the paintings, commenting that the starting point for each picture was the Scripture, though it may not always be clear which scripture in particular.
How, then, does Stephen Cottrell want us to approach these paintings? As a ‘burning bush’, he says, ‘a place of vivid encounter with God’, leading us to ‘stillness’, to ‘contemplation’, to ‘a greater appreciation of God’s presence and an increased desire to know Christ and follow in his way.’
I’m sure that reading this little book slowly and prayerfully will achieve that result for you.

Listen to this review

Reviewer: Barry Vendy   (07/11/12)

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