Tomorrow Koinonia completes week 7 of The Big Read 2012, so here’s how we got on with week 6 (2 weeks ago)
Christiana really likes the picture (it’s from @12baskets).
We talked about how we’d walked, paused to contemplate the moon, eaten slowly, and during regular 1 mile walks to work/back, concentrate a little more on what I was walking through, rather than head down to get to work asap! I have a note that someone cuddled a puppy – not quite sure how that’s relevant! In talking about exercise, we got talking about the Horizon programme that had been on the BBC – that a 3 minute workout, done right, could potentially be as good for you as a full workout…. quite appealing to some of our group! As is typical of our group, we then wandered off to talk about what had been in the news – notably gay marriage.
We wondered how do we know when something is finished? The first thing to come to mind was the Eastenders doof doof! We then thought about films, where the music tells us that some thing is coming (to an end). You can also hear it in radio interviews – the change in tone of voice, the summarising, and maybe the fading in of music. We remembered the TV boxes on that (used to) appear on screen in the top right, warning that there was 30-60 seconds of a programme coming. In any kind of fiction, then bits of story tend to come together for a happy ending or solving a who dunnit. The idea of the cliffhanger, to see what’s coming next. In meetings, etc then people start standing up to get others moving.
We watched the video, we thought it was Jesus Christ Superstar originally, but it’s not, although that got us talking about the fact that the stage show (which is coming locally shortly) doesn’t show the resurrection (apparently those writing the play didn’t believe in it so didn’t put it in). We did wonder when this particular video was coming to an end, as it wasn’t giving great signs.
The group immediately burst into song with “It’s the end of the world as we know it…” (that was kind of intentional!)
We watched the Tom Wright video, where he talks about Jesus in Gethsemane. How could he pray for cup taken away? The story is about a son asking his Father if there’s not a different way (rather than trying to rebel against God). It’s an intense moment where he’s rebelling against death. Jesus realised from scripture what he had to go through, and was fulfilling vocation, rather than on a suicide mission. He was the Holy Spirit in person. The world is dark cruel& wicked, yet God came.
In the reading, we are of course in Gethsemane also. Jesus is deeply distressed. High priest uses this as evidence, it’s seen as blasphemy. The question of the meaning of the word “brigand” arose again.
Reflection with Sheridan Voysey
We’re asked to imagine our way into a powerful story which gets right to the gut. The story essentially shows us what it might like if Jesus’ story were told in a modern context, in a world of terrorism. We wondered aloud which country it makes us think of? A country of power, policy & violence, where someone who had come in as a liberator, and then took torture on your behalf. How do you feel about that?
Qu 1: What does Jesus’ Gethsemane experience teach us about the character of God?
He followed through on what he’d been sent to do, he was a giving man. Are Jesus/God the same thing? God let Jesus suffer for us – was that more of a sacrifice for God or Jesus? Is it more painful to see someone you love being hurt, rather than being hurt yourself? God could do anything but he had a bigger picture so was this the only way as far as he was concerned? It fulfilled old testament prophecies? If he hadn’t sent Jesus would everything he preached /foretold still have been fulfilled? Before there had been rules. God can’t ignore sin so someone had to pay, and it would be only fair that we pay. Sin stops you having a good relationship with God so God takes that away because he wants to be with us.
Qu 2: What does it teach us about love?
The verses imply that God’s love for the world was far greater than that for his Son? The entire group was not convinced. Was Jesus dying the plan from start? If we over analyse it doesn’t stack up. That’s what faith is about – we don’t fully dissect it but we believe it (or does it need to be open to the deepest rigour?).
Qu 3: What does it teach us about submission to God?
Does it teach us that we should submit? Is there more than that? At that stage Jesus was both man & God – both were reality. Was Jesus afraid, etc. but still went throughout it. How get head around 100% God and Man, is that like saying someone is 100% human and woman. The journalist (Marie Colvin) who just died had a passion for telling the truth, risked her life so others didn’t have to suffer (yes, she may also have been an adrenalin junkie, but she was passionate about what she was doing and why).
Qu 4: What does it teach us about submission to others?
There’s no need to be doormat if we decide to submit to others. Jesus stood up for what he was in face of ‘danger’. He let the soldiers take him … why? What should we do in the same situation?
Qu 5: What is the difference between gratuitous suffering and redemptive suffering?
Gratuitous suffering made 2 of us think of the only episode of TOWIE that we’d seen (as we tried to work out how far it’s scripted), where a girl thinks she’s been stood up, spends the evening feeling miserable, and he turns up dressed as An Officer and a Gentleman. We weren’t sure what redemptive suffering was so Googled it. It’s a Roman Catholic idea, intended to provide benefit to others, it has a purpose whereas gratuitous doesn’t. Does all suffering have a value? The gift of pain. We mentioned Pam Smith’s post re depression.
Qu 6: In Mark 14 and 15 Jesus was rejected by the Jews, the Romans (Gentiles) and his friends. All of humanity was complicit. How have you rejected him? How might his response to that rejection affect your worship?
Is rejection sin? He forgives if we ask. Does that bring us closer? Were the Nazis all complicit?
"All it takes for evil to flourish is for good men (and women) to do nothing." -- Edmund Burke
If we don’t stand up for things, do we allow evil to flourish? How does it affect us? What about peer group pressure? If we step out of line… We always look with modern eyes, and therefore expect everyone else to too. Christina mentioned that the RSPB had been formed to protect from the overused of feathers in hats (fashion!). As we’re thinking of that era, and after the first screening of Upstairs Downstairs, the general consensus that it’s not as gripping or funny as Downton Abbey (I haven’t seen DA!).
Hot: Is death the end?
In our society we avoid the topic of DEATH. We talked about the idea of The Rapture, will this happen before Christ comes back? There is a ot of division in churches about what this will look like. Will the second coming be a physical coming? Out of our experience like Tsunami/Twin Towers etc. if believe die will we give up? Death is end of this physical being. “Nothing is certain but death and taxes”. Is it like 6th form, the end of school but not the end of life? Is death ‘being dead’ of physical being, but the soul continues. As a group with a significant amount of illness, the idea of no more disease etc in heaven is appealing. If we die are we like twins who need each other, with the soul & body merging? There’s no Biblical ref for such.
With celebrity deaths, the physical death not end of their earthly life. We are still using essence of what they created through their songs, or e.g. the iPad. I’d seen something about QR code gravestones, and we wondered about virtual memories. Can you record yourself before death? Do we have a need to continue – is that why many have a aeed to procreate to keep themselves going.
Cold: Write your own epitaph
The group queried whether what you want to achieve in life is too personal? For most of the group, any desire we might have to be Prime Minister probably wouldn’t happen unless we’re not engaged in politics and most are near/in 40s. However Engelbert Humperdinck has just been picked for Eurovision, as a 75 year old seen as an odd choice. We then thought about Strictly Come Dancing, where the older contestants used to be a joke, but are not expected to do well. You’re never too old to aim for many things.
After Dinner Chocs
We had a lot of debate about The Shack. Most of group didn’t like/finish it.