Lectionary Reading Blog for 10 July: 7th Sunday after Trinity

LiturgyandSpiritualityThis is a passage about ‘doing’ if ever there was one, the ultimate example for the activist; real hands on praxis, getting your hands dirty.

‘What do I need to do?’ (25) ‘Do this…’ (28) ‘Go and do likewise.’ (37) This is important to remember when we read on into the next passages in Luke on Mary and Martha and on prayer.

The crux of the story is for me in Jesus’s question in verse 36. I would translate the Greek gegonenai with ‘to have become’ rather than just ‘was’. “Which of these three, does it seem to you has become a neighbour to…?” Being a neighbour and having neighbours is not something that is static and given; it is a mutual process of becoming.

Unexpected people become neighbours because they choose to show ‘mercy’ or ‘compassion’. The unexpected twist Jesus gives to the question ‘who is my neighbour’ by telling a story of somebody who needs a neighbour rather than a story of somebody who is a neighbour emphasises mutuality.

The story invites us to think of all those who we do not think of as our neighbours and notice the mercy and compassion they offer. In loving our neighbour we learn to receive from them. Who in your life moves you with pity (33) and can you receive ‘mercy’ from them?

10 July 2016
Luke 10:25-37

This weekly blog on one of the lectionary readings is by Anne Claar Thomasson-Rosingh, Programme Leader for Lifelong Learning at Sarum College.

Lectionary Blog  |  Ministry at Sarum College

Lectionary Reading Blog for 3 July: 6th Sunday After Trinity

LiturgyandSpiritualityThis passage raises many questions.

Why sent seventy or seventy two for that matter? Why does Jesus do the same thing as in chapter 9? Why the vulnerability? Why no greeting in the street? Why stay in one house? When does Satan fall from heaven?

But the main message is clear. The kingdom of God has approached you or the kingdom of God has approached. From the beginning of Luke this has been Jesus’s message.

In 4:43 he says: “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God”. In Luke 10 it seems that this ‘kingdom of God’ is something else than heaven. I wonder whether the kingdom is near because Jesus is following his disciples – they went ahead to the places he intended to go to. And Jesus carries the kingdom of God with him. I wonder whether the kingdom is near because people will soon choose to live as if God is king. I wonder what happened when the kingdom arrived. Or is the kingdom of God 2000 years later still approaching? Or is the Kingdom of God near in the sense a mustard seed is near (13:19).

It is around us but we have to look very carefully to find it, because it is so small. I wonder what Jesus meant.

3 July 2016
Luke 10:1-11, 16-20

This weekly blog on one of the lectionary readings is by Anne Claar Thomasson-Rosingh, Programme Leader for Lifelong Learning at Sarum College.

Lectionary Blog  |  Ministry at Sarum College

Congratulations to Sarum Graduates!

Photographs by Ash Mills Photography

Each year on Presentation Day students along with their family and friends celebrate achieving their postgraduate qualification from Sarum College.

This year’s Presentation Day was held on Saturday 18 June 2016. As part of the presentation service there was an address by Dr Angus Paddison, Reader in Theology and Director of Academic and Development at the University of Winchester. The service concluded with prayers by Dr Barnabas Palfrey.

Postgraduate certificates were awarded to: Caterina Brown, John Dunne, Juliette Mintern, Timothy Scott and Samantha Whiley.

Postgraduate diplomas were awarded to: Joan Longley (posthumous) and Jane Manley.

Master’s degrees were awarded to: Jenny Alidina, Jean Andrews, Rosemary Beardow, Hilary Brand, Catherine Dearlove, Judith Egar, Jacqueline Gilks, David Jasper, Patricia Jose, Mary Melbourne, Nicholas Plant, David Rice, Hilary Spong, Rosemary Stiven, Julia Taylor, Keith Thomasson, Margaret Thorne, David Tomlinson, Ian Toombs, Sally Wadsworth and Hugh Wright.

Congratulations to all!

More information on Postgraduate Study at Sarum College

Grace Davie: The Future of Implicit Religion

Grace Davie was the keynote speaker for the 2016 Implicit Religion conference held at Sarum College on the weekend of Friday 20 May 2016.

Davie’s lecture, The Future of Implicit Religion, was the inaugural Edward Bailey Lecture, in honour of his pioneering and challenging work which questioned a widely held assumption that religion was the sole prerogative of institutions devoted to religion.

Bailey, who died in 2015 sought to discover the sacred within what might otherwise be dismissed as profane, and to identify experiences of the holy within an apparently irreligious realm. His intellectual legacy is now in the hands of the many people who have been influenced by his work.

Part of that legacy is in the form of the annual Implicit Religion Conference.

The conference explored a historical overview of the development of the concept and its meaning, indicating how implicit religion overlaps with and differs from spirituality. It also examined questions concerning group solidarities, organisational institutions, and ritual behaviour, among others.

Lectionary Reading Blog for 26 June: 5th Sunday After Trinity

LiturgyandSpirituality“When the days drew near for him to be taken up…” misses completely the rather mysterious Greek of this verse which is more something like “And it happened when the days of his ascension were fulfilled…”.

The verb translated in the NRSV with “drew near” is sumpleroo which is a combination of sun (with) and pleroo (fulfil) with the meaning to fill or complete entirely.

It is used in the New Testament only by Luke and only three times: here, in the becoming full of the boat in 8:23, and when the day of Pentecost is “fulfilled” in Acts 2:1. The word for ascension comes only once in the whole New Testament – here.

I think this is about “the fullness of days before his ascension”. But I do not understand why here is a reference to ‘being taken up’ rather than to the cross which might be seen as ‘being taken down’. I wonder whether the reference is to Jesus’ resurrection rather than to his ascension even if this specific Greek word (both, the noun: analempsis and the related verb: analambano) never relates to resurrection.

I am sure that the ascension mentioned here influences the meaning of the following stories. It focusses our mind beyond what is immediately happening: whether that be the fact that some do not accept Jesus or Jesus’ discomfort and alienation here as his true home is elsewhere. People of the resurrection and the ascension have their attention on the future rather than on the past.

26 June 2016
Luke 9: 51-end

This weekly blog on one of the lectionary readings is by Anne Claar Thomasson-Rosingh, Programme Leader for Lifelong Learning at Sarum College.

Lectionary Blog  |  Ministry at Sarum College

Bookshop Bestsellers: May 2016

  1. Sarum College BookshopBody: Biblical Spirituality for the Whole Person by Paula Gooder, SPCK £9.99
  2. The Art of Worship by Bishop Nicholas Holtam, National Gallery Company Ltd £12.99
  3. Our Last Awakening by Janet Morley, SPCK £9.99
  4. A (Very) Public School Murder by Simon Parke, SPCK £8.99
  5. Chosen? Reading the Bible and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict by Walter Brueggemann, Westminster John Knox Press £8.99
  6. Breathing Under Water by Richard Rohr, SPCK £9.99
  7. Immortal Diamond by Richard Rohr, SPCK £10.99
  8. Meeting God in Paul by Rowan Williams, SPCK £8.99
  9. Mindfulness and Christian Spirituality by Tim Stead, SPCK £9.99
  10. Theologygrams: Theology Explained in Diagrams by Rich Wyld, Darton, Longman & Todd Ltd £9.99

Lectionary Reading Blog for 19 June: 4th Sunday After Trinity

LiturgyandSpiritualityFor whom is this passage good news? Certainly not for the pig farmer who lost all his (admittedly unclean) animals!

Of course: the main protagonist, next to Jesus, mentioned many times, whose demons have a name but who himself remains nameless, receives wholeness beyond imagining. The contrast between before and after meeting Jesus couldn’t be bigger. But he also receives a huge task. He is the very first Gentile called to proclaim Jesus. John the Baptist in chapter 3 is proclaiming, Jesus proclaims a lot but nobody else in this gospel has that vocation yet. In chapter 9 the twelve will be send out to proclaim. For now it is this man from the country of the Gerasenes. He is not allowed to belong to the group. He has to go back to his own people and he does.

I wonder how he was received by his home town. I wonder whether this is where the Gentile mission that Luke describes in Acts really begins. I wonder whether there grew a community among the Gerasenes of followers of Jesus. I wonder what the pig owners did and thought. I wonder where Legion ended up. I wonder how often God tells us to “return to your home, and declare how much God has done for you”.

19 June 2016
Luke 8:26-39

This weekly blog on one of the lectionary readings is by Anne Claar Thomasson-Rosingh, Programme Leader for Lifelong Learning at Sarum College.

Lectionary Blog  |  Ministry at Sarum College

Book of the Month: June 2016

groundedGrounded by Diana Butler Bass

This is a remarkable book which draws together the Church, the environment, theology and the ways in which we understand God, into a revolutionary view of twenty-first century religious experience.

This is an extraordinarily moving book, reaching deep into a soul, transforming understanding, creating in us a completely new perception of God, “just beyond what we can see…at the edge of the visible world, the horizon of mystery”.

Religion – said to be in decline – is actually in a stage of transformation, renewal in the truest sense – where God is no longer distant but present in the world: liberated (if I may Gput it in these terms) from the confines of the Church.

We have become familiar with the intellectualising of faith (a process that surrounds so many pronouncements) until our faith is confined and bound. Here is a pathway to our being ‘called again’, as to a very new discovery through mysticism, poetry, into integration.

To read this book is therefore to become re-made. It is a book for those who have lost patience with the Church but still hold onto their hope in God. Above all, perhaps, it is a book for those who need a new language to convey the spiritual revolution that surrounds us; to help us all to become aware of the sacred, of the presence of God in the world, God-with-us – a radical faith, Christianity’s way of disturbing the world.

Reviewed by Lavender Buckland LLM

Grounded, published by HarperOne, is available at the special price of £11.50 (RRP £14.99) until 30 June 2016 from our online store.