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1st March 2021 - Lenten Reflection

The Presence - Captain A.E. Borthwick (1910)

Reflection by Alex Bewick

The Presence was painted by Captain A. E. Borthwick in 1910 and shows the interior of the St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Edinburgh. In the distance we see a celebration of the Eucharist at the High Altar, a holy practice in a holy place by seemingly holy people. But what about the dark figure kneeling in the foreground? Is this sorrowful wretch unworthy of partaking in the Lord’s Supper? We have all felt unworthy at times but this image reminds us that, far from being accessible only by privileged saints, Christ is with the humble sinner also. God is in the brightest joys of our lives but also truly present in the darkest corners. What this picture says to me is that the only payment Christ asks for his love is for our love in return. Love, therefore, is the way.