We arrived in Swansea to enjoy a weekend on moderatorial visit, but also to catch up with friends in the church and district where I served as minister for thirteen years. Our first day included attending the funeral of a church member, who was remembered in the service for her faithfulness to her family, work and church – which all made sense because she was a woman of faith. We then heard that the church secretary of the neighbouring church had also died that week – someone who had served the church as elder and secretary faithfully for many years. And so, on Sunday morning in worship, we needed to open our lives for God to fill us with both comfort and renewed faith. The lectionary reading both challenged us into finding new depths to our well of faith, but through it we found that well replenished with life giving water, as we grappled with the story of the raising of Lazarus from the dead. There are rare stories of people being miraculously brought back to life, but they are rare indeed. Even Lazarus would later physically die. So it would be cruel if God was offering the chance of this happening for us. Continue reading
On Monday evening, I attended the first Freedom Seder organised by the Council for Christians and Jews (CCJ).
The Seder is a ritual which takes place at the beginning of the Jewish festival of Passover. At its most basic the Seder (Hebrew for “Order”) is designed to remind people of the story of the Exodus from Egypt through various retellings and symbolic foods, and includes a ceremonial meal at its centre. The photograph shows the ceremonial meal: the lamb bone, the bitter herbs etc on the plate, the box of unleavened bread and the red grape juice.
If Karl Barth really said: “We must hold the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other,” he did refer to it in interview in 1966: “The Pastor and the Faithful should not deceive themselves into thinking that they are a religious society, which has to do with certain themes; they live in the world. We still need – according to my old formulation – the Bible and the Newspaper.” Armed with both, we headed for Malvern, which holds an annual Science and Faith Weekend.
Mgr. George Lemaitre who invented the Big Bang Theory talks with Albert Einstein
I have always been suspicious of a Faith that won’t have a conversation with Science, or Science that pretends it doesn’t need Faith! In a world which seems to perpetuate a myth that science and Faith are at best incompatible, and at worst bitter enemies, determined to destroy each other it is so brave of Malvern to host a Science and Faith Weekend. Each year they attract respected and renowned speakers from the perspectives of not only science, but also politics, economics, philosophy and beyond. Described as ‘A Festival of Ideas’ there are lectures, seminars, workshops for all ages, with plenty of opportunities for questions and answers, exploring issues deeper and in relation to faith. No wonder it attracts hundreds of people who want to explore the meaning of life, and how Science and Faith can enrich our experience of that life. For us, the two came together in one person in our act of worship, as I shared it with the Right Revd. Dr. John Inge, Bishop of Worcester, who is also a passionate chemist. Continue reading