This Lent Course looks at some of the events of the last week of Jesus’ life (and after) through the eyes and experience of those who there, as depicted in Matthew’s Gospel. And then we look at the way those stories reflect on our own experiences, including poems and books we have read, films we have seen, music we have heard.
It’s a different kind of course because you will bring the material. Don’t worry – the material is all around you. It’s a bit like playing snap – matching your own experiences to the stories we are looking at.
This is how it works
You need to start 5-6 days ahead of the session. Read the story of the character(s) we are looking at and the summary of their dilemma. Pray about it. This might take 5 minutes – longer if you like.
Then for 2-3 days, hold that story in your mind. You will find that the story feels like things that have happened to you – jot them down as you think of them (it might be worth keeping a notebook just for this). Maybe the story reminds you of a novel you read or a story someone told you, or a poem you came across or hymn or song you heard, or an incident in a film you saw. Jot them down. The Religious Resources Centre will be able to help: www.resourcescentreonline.co.uk. If you read newspapers, look out for stories that say something about the theme. The website: www.textweek.com has an index of movies and an index of images relating to Biblical themes which you might find helpful.
Then as the day of the next group session approaches, gather together the things you have been thinking of. If you can’t get hold of the book or CD or DVD (or whatever), make a few notes about what struck you about it.
When the group meets together, we will read the passage again and talk about how the character(s) might have felt, and then share our own experiences, as well as the readings, poems, songs, film clips etc. That way, we will help each other to get deeper into the story. Your story will reflect on my story, and help me to see something new. I hope we will get to know Jesus better by looking at him through the eyes of those who were there, and get to know ourselves better at the same time.
Each session will end with a time of prayer.
Some groups will only be able to spend an hour a week together. If you can spend 1½ hours together, that would be excellent. You need to tailor the timings of each part of the session according to the time available to you.