Jesus at Prayer

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Dear friends in Christ,

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?

On April 2 at 10 a.m., in the second lecture in this two-class series, we look at the concept of prayer in John’s gospel. In particular, we consider Christ’s “High Priestly Prayer” in John chapter 17. This is a unique passage, as Jesus is shown as speaking not to his followers, but rather to God the Father himself. Hence we are afforded a fleeting if intimate glimpse of the inner life of the Trinity. In this class we reflect on what this depiction of Christ can teach us about our own lives of prayer.

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. See his preaching and speaking session below:

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

Questions for Rowan? In addition to his sermons and addresses, Dr. Williams has kindly agreed to talk with the Sunday class at 10 a.m. on Palm Sunday, April 9, in an interview, Q&A format. Are there any questions you would particularly like to have answered? If so, send them along by reply email and I will keep a running list.

Testaments Old and New. A new class begins on Sunday, April 23. This series looks at the ways in which the Gospel writers interpreted the Hebrew scriptures within the texts of the gospels themselves. The lectures draw on recent Biblical scholarship, including the new Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels by Richard B. Hays, former dean of Duke Divinity School.

The Rector’s Christian Doctrine Class: “The Christian Exodus” – An Introduction to the Holy Week Liturgies.This class continues on Tuesday, April 4, 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.

Medieval piety … and humor. One of the benefits of libraries digitizing their collections is the ability to view centuries-old illuminated manuscripts from the convenience of one’s own computer. There are a few social media sites that have collected some of the most interesting (not to say most profound) illustrations from them. The British Library has a Twitter feed that posts notable manuscript pages. Beautiful Illuminated Manuscripts fits its title. See also Discarding Images, a Tumblr page with images that range from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Yours in Christ, Joel