As your Parish Priest, my deepest desire is to help you get to know God better, and there are two ways to do this. One is to speak to God, the other is to listen to God.
Prayer is a recognised way in which we speak to God and it can be both intentionally done – such as at Morning Prayer – or it can be liberally done – such as a prayer of thanks while out walking in the sunshine. It is healthy to have a bit of both.
Reading the Bible is a recognised way in which we listen to God and it can be both intentionally done – such as through a Bible Study – or it can be liberally done – such as remembering a bit of the Bible as we go about daily life. It is healthy to have a bit of both.
Two dozen of us gather for this year’s Lent Course: to listen to God by intentionally studying the Bible. We have been meeting in person at St James (12:30pm on Wednesdays), online via Zoom (7pm on Wednesdays), and in person at St Bartholomew’s (2:30pm on Thursdays). All the sessions are the same and anyone can come along to any of them.
In the first week of Lent, we looked at the story of Jesus being tempted by the devil in the wilderness after a time of fasting. It was remarkable how much we discovered… that there were lots more characters in the story than just Jesus and the devil – we found up to seven different people! We imagined ourselves there: feeling the heat of the desert increase as the devil came near – smelling the fire and brimstone! We smelt the freshly baked bread as Jesus was tempted to turn stones into food. Afterwards, we continued the exercise at home and later I was emailed some reflections: seeing the story from the eyes of the angels, or from the perspective of an actor playing the part of the devil… or even from the rocks’ perspective!
In the second week of Lent, we looked at the time Jesus was warned about Herod by the Pharisees – and the conversation about the fox and the hens. Jesus seemed to have a prophet’s eyes: seeing the world as it is and as it will be. We talked about how the passage seemed to be confusing, and it was encouraging to hear that we all had questions.
Of the responses I have received, here is a picture that Carol drew thinking about how Jesus wanted to help… but was turned away.