Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world.
The Lamb and Flag is a familiar name which has been given to so many pubs. There is a famous pub by that name in Oxford, for example where CS Lewis and JR Tolkien used to drink. Morse and Lewis have been spotted there as well. There is another famous Lamb and Flag in Covent Garden in London. There even used to be one here in Cannock, though not quite so famous. But have you ever wondered what the name means?
The Lamb of course is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world - the Lamb sacrificed at passover, to save the Hebrews from death, Christ, the Lamb who gives his life for us in Holy Week.
But the pub sign uses an ancient representation seen in Churches throughout the world, which bears an image not of a dead Lamb, but of a living one. One moving forward, one depicted - albeit awkwardly - carrying the Flag which bears the imprint of the cross. And the flag is open, flying int the rush of air, which indicates to us forward movement.
This is the symbol of the resurrection, the symbol of victory. It is the sign for the refreshment of the traveller, the sustenance of the pilgrim. It is the strength and the power of the grace of God, which gives us life, which inspires us and drives us on. The cross on the flag is a reminder of the struggle, the unavoidable sorrows, the pains, betrayals and failures, which are endured before the victory. But now the living, risen, victorious Lamb, parades the cross behind him, because it is over this which he is triumphant.
This is the night of the Lamb, when Christ our Passover is sacrificed, when darkness vanishes for ever!
May Christ who came back from the dead, shed his peaceful light on all mankind.