The Tragic Imagination

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Dear friends in Christ,

Christ and Tragedy. This two-class series concludes on Sunday, March 19, at 10 a.m., and looks at the recent book The Tragic Imagination by Rowan Williams. Williams’s book provides an opportunity to ask important questions, both theological and practical: can a Christian discourse be tragic? What does dramatic tragedy do, and what can it teach us? How do we think of Christ in light of tragic experiences? No prior reading is expected.

Word made flesh: Delving into the Gospel of John. The Gospel of John holds a unique place in the New Testament. Not only does it differ from the synoptic gospels in some details, it also reads as the most “philosophical” of the gospels. Yet it is still about the person Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Mary. So what does “In the beginning was the Word” tell us about the Jesus who walked on earth, touched and healed those who were ill, and held children in his arms? The task of these two Sunday classes, presented by guest lecturer Matthew Knotts of the University of Leuven, is to orient us to the gospel of John and illuminate what it can teach us about God, his relationship to us, and our relating to him – that is, prayer. This class meets on March 26 and April 2 at 10 a.m.

Rowan Williams in Holy Week. We are pleased to welcome to Saint Thomas the Rt. Rev. Rowan Williams, current head of Magdalene College, Cambridge, and former Archbishop of Canterbury. Williams is giving a series of addresses at the parish during Holy Week (April 9 – 14) with the theme, “Transforming Power: The Cross of Christ and the Kingdoms of the World.” More details about Dr. Williams’s visit are available on a special page on our website. His preaching and speaking is here:

April 9, Palm Sunday: at the 11 a.m. Liturgy of the Palms and Solemn Eucahrist of the Passion
April 10, Holy Monday: after the 5:30 p.m. Solemn Eucharist
April 11, Holy Tuesday: after the 5:30 p.m. Solemn Eucharist
April 12, Holy Wednesday: before the 5:30 p.m. Office of Tenebrae
April 13, Maundy Thursday: at the 5:30 p.m. Solemn Liturgy
April 14, Good Friday: at the 5:30 p.m. Solemn Liturgy

In addition, Dr. Williams has agreed to talk with the Sunday class at 10 a.m. on April 9.

“Condemned into Redemption” audio and lecture text available. The streaming audio, along with the lecture text, of the Spring Theology Lecture presented by the Rev. Fleming Rutledge is now available on the Saint Thomas website.

The Rector’s Christian Doctrine Class: “They recognized him in the Breaking of the Bread”: The Eucharist at the heart of our common life. This class continues on Tuesday, March 21, the feast day of Thomas Cranmer, at 6:30 p.m. in Andrew Hall. Primarily intended for those who wish to be confirmed or received into the Episcopal Church, it is also open to any who are interested in the topic of the day.

Reformations, in the plural. I was recently sent a fascinating article written by the esteemed historian Eamon Duffy, reviewing the book Reformations: The Early Modern World, 1450-1650, written by the also-esteemed historian Carlos M. N. Eire. This year is the 500th anniversary of one of the most consequential events of Western history: Martin Luther’s composition and distribution of his 95 Theses. The occasion provides the opportunity for much reflection on the Church, its catholicity, and its role in history. Eire brings to light the multiplicity of factors that went into the event that we call the “Reformation.” By doing so he helps us understand both the sources of Christian divisions and the possibilities for unity.

Finally, in the class on Sunday, March 12, I unsuccessfully attempted to distribute an article I penned a few years that took as its subject Rowan Williams and interfaith engagement. It can be found here.

Yours in Christ, Joel