Come in, O Blessed of the Lord!

Samuel Colman painted Sunday Morning, Going to Church around 1832. It shows Zion Chapel, a Congregationalist chapel in Bedminster and the building which was newly erected at time of painting. He and his wife were regular worshippers there. He contrasts the devout families approaching the church with the poor woman and children begging on the pavement. The man giving them alms points to the church that they might enter and hear the good news of the gospel.

The golden coloured chapel contrasts with the dark industrial buildings to its left, and the gothic parish church in the distance. On the far right is the New Gaol, another contrast to the chapel’s liberating message. Although the begging mother rightly anticipates the chapel goers’ greater levels of generosity, she misses the real point: salvation and life can be obtained where the gospel is preached. Staying outside will do her and her family no good in the long term. Although no-one gathers by the gates of Salem Chapel to beg alms, there are plenty who remain on the fringes and borders, barely venturing to join and play their part.

Come in, O blessed of the Lord! Why do you stand outside?" Genesis 24:31a