Learning in the Preaching Series
We talked about the events so far in the Series. People had enjoyed hearing Rabbi Esther’s perspective and really appreciated the day with Rabbi Magonet. His reading was defined by reading it in Hebrew, awareness of the poetry and the way words are written down. It was seen as distinctive and ‘other – in a good way. There was a great discussion of ‘The Misunderstood Jew’ and people are looking forward to the next Lunchtime Conversation.
There was a sense that the learning is just getting going and that July is too early to stop meeting and studying together. July will still be the right time to announce who will be going to Yad Vashem. But we can continue after that too.
There is interest in looking further at ‘the land’: potentially we could invite Barbara Butler of Christians Aware to speak from her experience of the Palestinian perspective and her work to raise awareness among Christians.
Helen reported on attending ‘Celebration for Israel’ at Living Hope Church on 11th May. It was both joyful and thoughtful. Helen will stay in touch with Stephen Jaffe of the Board of Deputies. Through him, we may be able to arrange for an Orthodox Rabbi to speak to the group about approaches to Scripture and preaching.
Sermon writing for Perspectives
Robert has preached a range of sermons including a Jewish perspectives. He has found people are interested and keen to talk things through afterwards. You can read them on www.lcileeds.org
Madeleine has not yet preached a sermon including Jewish perspectives; she has often preached on an Old Testament text, but has used Christian commentaries. She commented that Levine’s book The Misunderstood Jew, has had a big impact on her and means she is thinking through the implications for feminist readings of the text. There is work to be done before preaching.
Madeleine and Rebecca also commented on the need for sensitivity to the congregation for whom the ideas may be new, and not what they are expecting to hear. So, they are giving further thought to how to manage the transition.
Rebecca reported that so far she hasn’t based a sermon around Jewish perspectives. But when preaching on ‘the Road to Emmaus’ she talked about how the early believers were Jewish and would be used to engaging in discussion with the Rabbi and asking questions of the texts. Afterwards, some people commented that as Christians, the way we show respect for the Bible means that we often don’t question the text, rather we revere it. And that asking questions could be helpful.
The Story of the Jews
We watched 20 minutes of the first Simon Shama dvd on ‘The Story of the Jews’ when he looked at the quest to find connections between the biblical story and archaeological evidence in the Middle East. Sharma also described the growth in a worship context of both an appreciation of an ‘invisible God’ and the importance of Scripture as two distinctive features of the Jewish story. The dvds are well worth watching (they are available to borrow), and perhaps we should watch parts of them together because they stimulate an interesting discussion.