Mondays in Lent at Broad Street Methodist church, PE11 1TB, 7:30pm; all welcome. Poster created by the Weatherley-Bartons (with design by He Qi) available for download at the foot of this page; summaries awaiting proof reading
Monday 3 April: The suffering Servant
Monday 27 March: The suffering Prophets
Monday 20 March: The suffering Psalmists
The third in this year's series was introduced by Ros Lukins, reading from Psalm 13 and drawing from Bear Grylls' autobiography - God's peace comes in the midst difficult of circumstances. The contemporary song 'What kind of love is this?' (sung by Sarah Lacy, written by Bryn & Sally Haworth) was played.
Annie Weatherly-Barton expanded on the meaning of the word Torah, the books of the law, helping Old Testament readers to "love honour and obey, not eBay." The Torah teaches the way to live - holding someone's hand rather than using a stick.
Torah was translated into the Greek as nomos - which misses some of the rich depth of the original meaning of teaching - doctrine of life. The English translation 'Law' misses out even more.
Steve Weatherly-Barton developed the lecture on Luke 24 25-27, The suffering psalmists, looking at how Jesus fulfilled the words of the psalmist - not just, not even mainly - in the fulfilment of predictions but in the fulfilment - the filling out - of the spiritual journey of the Psalmist.
Noting that about one third of the psalms are laments where the psalmists face the realities of life and share them with God, the book as a whole moves from a concentration of laments to a focus on praise. It is an example of a young person maturing and working out their faith as they grow. No-one has been more honest with God than Jeremiah.
Example: the lament of Psalm 6 1-3 turns to acceptance in verse 9. On the road to Emmaus, surely Jesus would have drawn on this and other psalms to explain that the messiah had to suffer? The gospels record our Lord quoting from scripture throughout. On the cross, Jesus cries out with words seen in Psalm 22. In his earthly ministry, the most frequent quotes from these books was:
1st: Psalms - more than any other book
Peter, on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2.24-28 quoted from Joel (the prophecy of the coming of the Holy Spirit) and then Psalm 16 and Psalm 110
Our speaker noted how Heaven is mentioned very briefly in the Old Testament; the average OT believer was not full of hope.. And yet, Peter said how king David knew God's promise that one of his descendants would be placed on his throne; seeing what was to come, his evidence was taken from the hope seen in the Psalms. Acts 2.33-34 continues with God's plan for the risen and exalted Christ to pour out his Spirit.
Jesus quoted the same Psalm 110 in Mark 12.35-37, inviting the listener to 'Have a think about this.. Don't you understand?' Jesus had to suffer so he could enter his glory. After traveling through the darkness, Jesus calls out it is done.
The tide will turn in our land when people hear God's call to be real intercessors but true intercessors will be required to feel God's pain, to mourn, to hunger and thirst for righteousness.
Music to conclude: Annie Herring, 'I lift my song'
Monday 13 March: Beginning with Moses ...
Rev John Bennett read from Deuteronomy 31.1-8 and led a time of prayer and the singing of 'Abide with me'.
Annie Weatherly-Barton shared a story of the last days of a terminally ill friend who was accused of having no faith, recalling how Peter had little faith when he stepped out of the boat. The Old Testament is a treasure trove; the word salvation first appears Exodus 14.30 - Freedom from oppression.. 'Yasha' is like the freedom of running free on a beach.
Steve Weatherly-Barton returned to Luke 24 25-27 as he introduced episode two: Beginning with Moses - exploring what Jesus may have recalled from the spoken and written Torah, the Pentateuch, the five books of Moses.
Jesus never refers to Abraham and Isaac in the gospels. He may have talked about it on the road to Emmaus because of it reflects the things that came to pass in those recent days. Most fathers would offer their own life rather than their son - sacrificing their whole future. And yet God the Father allowed his Son to be sacrificed.
See also Hebrews 11.17-19, Romans 8.31-32
Our speaker also suggested that Jesus may have explored the Bronze serpent in Numbers 21.4-9; Moses did what God told him to do with the bronze serpent; those who looked up at the serpent would find healing; cf John 3.14-15 & John 12.20-23
Noting how only Jesus can help us; time was spent reflecting on verses of 'The Royal banners forward go' by the Bishop of Poitiers. The testimony of Spurgeon's conversion during a snowstorm, sheltering in a Methodist Chapel and responded to Isaiah 45.22 - which in turn brought out the revelation from his mother that something wonderful had happened to him that morning.
Steve drew on the words 'I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob' from the Burning Bush Exodus 3.1-21 and concluded with Matthew 22.31-32.
There was time to reflect on the song 'Where you there when they crucified my Lord' by the Annie Moses band
Monday 6 March: Introduction - why look at the Old Testament?
Introduced by Rev Frances Ballantyne with the hymn 'Because he lives' and Psalm 23, Steve Weatherly-Barton suggested we 'eavesdrop on the conversation' on the road to Emmaus with Jesus himself explaining all that was said in the scriptures concerning himself. So why start with the Old Testament?
1 Because the Bible is recognised around the world as part of the God-inspired authority for Christian living
2 Because it was Jesus' Bible, recalled from memory - even from childhood (Luke 2 44-49 and 4 18f)
3 Because it tells the story of a people learning about God (Amos 5 23f, Micah 6 8)
4 Because it is fulfilled in Jesus; the Old Testament not primarily a Book of Predictions or random prophecies
5 Because the Lord hasn't just offered us a label or a taste of the new wine, but rather offers to fill our glasses - our life - to the brim
The Steeles song 'On the road to Emmaus' was played; over refreshments, everyone was invited to share advice and problems about reading the Bible.