Love Letters: Ancient Hopes for Modern Hearts
Following worship on the third Sunday of the month, October 2017 through April 2018
Join us as we explore the lives of diverse characters in the Bible to gain a sense of how their struggles, accomplishments, and transformations may help us strengthen our own faith, increase our love for one another, and help us to be a force for good. This fall we will read and discuss the letters of St. Paul.
Please register for People of the Book by contacting the Church Office at 203.869.1091 or adding your name to the sign-up sheet in the Parlor. Materials needed for the study will be sent prior to each class.
October 15: The Main Thing
There are twenty-seven books in the New Testament and thirteen are letters written by Paul. Scholars believe that of these, seven are almost certain to have flowed from his pen. Although the subject matter of these letters varies depending on the points Paul was trying to make to different congregations, they are all love letters. With every syllable of every word Paul revealed himself as a person of great compassion who was an extremist for love and who cared deeply for brothers and sisters in the faith. Through this introduction to the writings of Paul, we will come away with a basic understanding of the man and his message. Not just to gather more knowledge, but so that we can write letters of our own, with the syllables of our words and actions.
November 19: Apostle of the Heart Set Free
In Paul’s Letter to the Galatians, he sets forth a one-line statement of belief: “For freedom Christ has set us free.” This letter, written early on in his missionary travels, is soaked through and through with Paul’s passion for the way life can be lived freely in faith. We will explore Paul’s vision of freedom, and how it can liberate us for joy and exuberance in the Christian way. Insights will also be drawn from Eugene Peterson’s commentary on this book, Traveling Light: Modern Meditations on St. Paul’s Letter of Freedom.
December 17: Radical Paul, Radical Jesus
Did Paul know anything about the birth of Jesus? Did he carry with him on his long journeys any images or stories about how Jesus the Christ made his way into the world? We cannot say for certain. But what Paul does seem to have packed along with him on his varied travels is a core set of convictions about what mattered most to Jesus. Paul allowed these urgent priorities to shape his life, and then encouraged new Christians to imitate him. For our discussion, and as a prelude to Christmas, we will unwrap the gift of Paul’s understanding of Jesus, to see how that encounter shaped his faith and how it can continue to shape our approach to the world in which we live.