Blog Archives

Art Project

2014-2015 Middle School Sunday School Art Project

by Kevin Burns

 

The Middle School Sunday School class, rotating its Bible survey content between Old Testament and New Testament every other year, focused on the New Testament in the 2014-2015 church-year. During the fall, the class explored the unique literary perspectives of each gospel in our cannon.

 

FullSizeRenderAfter exploring the intentional reveal of the mysterious identity of the suffering savior in Mark, the emphasis on Jesus as the one sent by God to be the fulfillment of Judaism, and presented as a second Moses in Matthew, the emphasis on Jesus as the prophet to the whole Jewish and Gentile world in Luke, and the perspective of Jesus as divinity, incarnated in flesh, performing signs to demonstrate his identity in John; the class then looked in detail at what Jesus taught, both in discourses (like the famous Sermon on the Mount) and in parables.

 

Acknowledging that some of our Christological ideas like the Trinity and the dual nature of Christ as both divine and human were developed long after the texts of the Bible were written, the class spent an entire class focusing on the dominant metaphors for Christ that are actually in the Biblical text. Through discussion, the class selected the following as the most dominant metaphors/images: shepherd, bread of life, living water, the vine/tree, and light in the darkness. Some of the scriptures referenced in this study included: John 1, 4, 6, 10, & 15, Jeremiah 17, Psalm 23, and Revelation 22.

 

What emerged from the conversation was an understanding that Sustenance is a dominant concept in both our Old and New Testament. Human beings have a fundamental need to survive by eating and drinking. Many of the metaphors describing Christ, and God, in our Bible relate to this fundamental need:

 

God is embodied in the living water of the stream that feeds the tree so that it will survive the drought. (Jeremiah 17, Revelation 22) That same living water is offered to the woman at the well by Jesus in John 4. Jesus said in John 15 that He was the vine that provides nourishment to us (the branches). In John 6, after feeding the multitude, Jesus declares that he is the bread of life. Even the prominent metaphor of the good shepherd is that of one that guides, protects, and works to ensure that the flock is fed. The Lord who is our shepherd prepares a table for us (Psalm 23).

 What emerged from the conversation was an understanding that Sustenance is a dominant concept in both our Old and New Testament.

It is no wonder that one of the most important sacraments of the Church and one of the most dominant themes in the New Testament is the unique fellowship that comes from sharing food at table with our community and with Christ.

 

Each participant (from the Middle School Sunday School Class and the Junior High Youth Group) was challenged to paint a canvas, which had to contain at least two depictions of the metaphoric images discussed. Each canvas was designed to stand alone and tell its story while simultaneously contributing to the whole….to the bigger picture which is the Christ, just as each Gospel stands as an unique, independent rendition of Jesus, but when read together give us a much more complete and useful understanding of the Christ and the meaning of the Gospel.

 

Ash Wednesday Meditation

Isaiah 58:6-9a: God speaks to Israel through the prophet’s words

 “Is not this the fast that I choose:

to loose the bonds of injustice,

to undo the thongs of the yoke,

to let the oppressed go free and to break every yoke?

Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,

and bring the homeless poor into your house;

when you see the naked, to cover them

and not to hide yourself from your own kin?”

Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,

and your healing shall spring up quickly;

your vindicator shall go before you,

the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;

you shall cry for help, and God will say,

Here I am.

 

 

“Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.” These are the ancient words used on Ash Wednesday as the mark of the cross is made on the worshipper’s forehead with a smudge of ash. On this day that marks the beginning of Lent, Christians are reminded of our mortality, our vulnerability, our frailty and moral failures. We remember a central fact of what it means to be human: that our lives have limits, the most notable of which is that we will all die; and that our individual lives and the life of our societies are fraught with brokenness, injustice, violence, and destruction.

“Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.”

It does not take the insight of faith to see these things, of course. Everyone alive knows that he or she will die. We know all too well how vulnerable we are to disease and to the forces of nature. And simply listening to the news or reading the newspaper reminds us of the violence and destruction that humans inflict on themselves and others and nature. It does not take the eyes of faith to see that there is a lot that is broken.

 

 

But the eyes of faith see something else. The eyes of faith see that we are not just random accidents of nature; we are creatures of a Creator. The boundary of our lives is not simply our chronological life span. We have been called into being by God, and we are invited to find the true meaning in relation to God.

 

 

The words of the prophet Isaiah represent a breakthrough in religious insight in the ancient world. For many other peoples, the gods were arbitrary and capricious. It was easy to offend; prayers and sacrifices were needed to appease. But Israel knew a very different God. The Holy One was a God of justice who expected and hoped that God’s chosen people would emulate God’s ways. Isaiah makes this clear: the right way to worship God is to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, care for the poor and remove the injustice in society that leads to poverty.

 

 

But God is also a God of mercy whose steadfast love endures forever; who forgives us when we betray one another and ourselves and God; who longs for us to find our way back to right relationship with one another and with God.

 

 

Lent is an opportunity for us to focus – to step back from all the things that ordinarily seem so very important, so pressing, so demanding. To step back and focus on the relationship that in fact will lead us to our true selves. God invites us to discover once again who we are and whose we are and where our true fulfillment lies.

 

 

The God of justice shows us the path. The God of mercy invites us to start over and over and over again. The path leads to life. The path leads us home.

 

 

Cynthia M. Campbell

Pastor

 

 

The Nativity

This video was made by Lucy Fitzgerald and the Children’s Sunday School classes at church. Enjoy their telling of the birth of Jesus. Thanks be to God.

 

 

 

God listens to our prayers…

In the Children’s worship bulletin on Sunday, October 26, there was a prompt for our youngest to write a sermon. Lauren in the Fourth GrP1050829ade wrote the sermon below. Thanks to Lauren for sharing her sermon with us.

 

God always listens to our prayers. Even though millions of people are listening to music, singing, and praying all the time God listens to each and every on of us, comprehending each word, each syllable we pronounce, Even though you may not know it, you are always talking to God. Whether you are talking on a phone, or reading, or even sleeping, God is watching. If you think aphotobout it, you’re always doing something. Thinking, breathing, watching TV. If you are thinking, God can hear it and understands how you feel. If you watch TV, God sits beside you on the carpet and laughs at jokes. You can’t hide from God no matter how hard you try. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Contributors

Weekly Email Newsletter

Keep up to date with the Week-at-a-Glance