Sunday Morning Adult Bible Study Returns September 12th
The Adult Bible Class will devote this year, September 2021-June 2022, to reading the Book of the Prophet Isaiah. It is suggested that three different authors wrote these 66 chapters over three distinct Old Testament time periods: mid 8th century BCE by “Isaiah of Jerusalem,” about 150 years before the Babylonian captivity; in Babylon during the 6th century captivity, about 586-536 BCE; and in Judea sometime after 536 BCE when King Cyrus of Persia allowed the Jews to return. In the midst of great turmoil, these writers maintained confidence in God. How they described God’s intervention may not always correspond to our own visions of God’s mode of action. Although an ancient Hebrew text, as early as the 4th century CE the Church Fathers began to call it “the Fifth Gospel” because of passages like the “suffering servant” and “man of sorrows,” which they adapted as prophecies of Jesus as Messiah. By the Middle Ages these interpretations of Isaiah were fostering harsh, cruel anti-Semitism toward Jews by Christians, which we see persisting even in our own day.
Isaiah will provide thoughtful post-Covid pandemic reading. We will read the appointed text in class each Sunday. Extra material from which we work focuses on modern scholarly commentary relating to the text. In addition, we will look for evidence of borrowing, or for allusions to Isaiah’s text, by the authors of the New Testament gospels and epistles. And because so much of our familiar Christian music is based on Isaiah’s text, we will consider some of it: especially Handel’s Messiah and Brahms’s German Requiem. As we reflect upon Isaiah’s words, on the one hand, we will honor them as ancient, Jewish, and written at a particular time in history for a particular reason. But on the other hand, we will acknowledge the redemptive hope for Christians that we sing of in so many of our hymns whose roots lie in the poetry of this book.
Please consider joining us: Sibley House office, Sunday mornings from 9:30-10:20. All are welcome whether as a “regular” or when the Spirit leads!
Centering Prayer (Meditation)
Thursdays throughout the year at 11:00 a.m; currently meeting online. Contact Kathryn Treece for instructions on how to access.
“Meditation is one of the most ancient and universal of all spiritual practices, and it is the cornerstone of a wisdom encounter with Christ,” writes the Rev. Cynthia Bourgeault, in Wisdom Jesus. All are welcome to try the CCD Centering Prayer group. No experience is necessary, and simple instructions are given for newcomers. The hour-long meeting includes 20 minutes of silence, intercessory prayer, a brief reading, and informal sharing. If you have questions or are coming for the first time, please contact Kathryn Treece at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the office. Brochures about Centering Prayer are in the leaflet rack at church, or you may learn more at contemplativeoutreach.org.