Once upon a time… But still now… And for the future…
How do you view the Old Testament? As a collection of stories of questionable authenticity, unfathomable meaning and not especially relevant for today’s world?
Or perhaps as the weighty introduction and foundation to the action of the New Testament!
However you view the Old Testament, something new and interesting has been happening at Kendal Parish Church on Tuesday evenings during May. Karl Möller has led a series of four stand-alone studies of some events and people who feature in the Exodus story. These sessions have been the first venture of CCL to a wider audience – the lay person in the pew – and they have been well supported by summary notes and questions for discussion both at the end of each session and for further reflection. They could even be adapted for use by home groups
As an Old Testament scholar, Karl has brought his considerable knowledge to bear, putting the selected passages into the context of the time and culture they describe. But not content with just explaining the story as it was written down, Karl has looked at the bigger picture, how it applies to the rest of the Bible, to God and to us, and how it still asks questions of our world today. So the stories we all know of – Moses in the basket, the plagues, and the manna in the wilderness – have opened up to consideration of wider issues. Consideration of the potential of ordinary people to make a difference; consideration of leadership and the consequences of the style of leadership; consideration of the position of aliens (and refugees); consideration of attitudes to resources and to work and leisure. All these topics find some space in our newspapers most days.
The material has been accessible, a Degree in Theology is not required, just some curiosity. The material has been informative, with more explanation than is possible in the average Sunday sermon. The combination has been provocative enough to engage listeners in some searching to apply Christian belief to the world just outside our church door.
I think that the congregations of the southeast of Cumbria have been privileged to be the ‘trial’ audience for this venture and I would encourage CCL to make this series of presentations accessible to other areas in the diocese. Further, I look forward to new presentations that will establish CCL as a provider of high quality and relevant material for all Christians across Cumbria who seek to explore the significance of their faith further.
‘I was totally engrossed by the presentation. The detail and all the nuances of the text were exciting. It is unusual to hear a talk of such depth.’
‘Honestly, this has been so very stimulating and challenging. I have felt like a sponge soaking up so many insights! How very relevant the themes explored here are to today. Thank you so much!’
‘Thoroughly enjoyable. Really enjoyed hearing so many thoughts and the comments of different theologian thinkers.’
‘An excellent series of lectures which show the real difference between ‘milk and meat’ of God’s word. Makes me hungry for more!’
Author: Brian Lock
Reader, Loughrigg Team Ministry