|British Library Add. MS 59874 Ethiopian Bible - Matthew's Gospel (Ge'ez script) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
On Saturday 12th October at 10.0am , a group of us gathered in the Windhill Churches Centre for a morning of exploration into Matthew's Gospel.
After an initial gathering and chat over a tea/coffee, the program started with brief introductory session led by The Rev'd Derwyn Williams. This started with the showing of 13 pictures and identifying what biblical passages these related to. These passages, as it turned out, were all unique to Matthew, and indicated how different this gospel is to the others. Derwyn then proceeded to describe the basic features of Matthew's Gospel and what it is trying to tell its readers. It is in essence a "Jewish Gospel" which portrays Jesus in a Jewish context as a fulfilment of Old Testament prophesies, and his authority in Jewish terms ("Messiah", "Son of David" etc.). The Gospel was written for the Jewish Christian Community, and presents Jesus as the "New Moses" both in the comparisons of the life stories and the presence in the Gospel of 5 books of teaching, which can correlate to the Pentateuch.
Following this, we had two short workshop sessions in which we divided into two groups for either a bible study or meditation. The first session included a meditation (Lectio Divina) on Matthew 19, 16-26 led by The Rev 'd Derrick Hinge, or a study of Matthew Chs 3-5, led by Rob Klincke. The second session was a choice of an Ignatian Meditation on Matthew 12 vv 46-50 led by The Rev'd Tim Weeks, or a study of the Nativity as told in Matthew led by Derwyn.
The groups then reassembled for a final short session of questions and reflections on the morning's activities, and closed with a short act of worship.
I found the event a very enjoyable, informative and thought provoking experience which was very well presented. Many thanks to Derwyn and his fellow contributors for a well run course. I encourage all readers to consider taking advantage of future activities like this; it does not matter what level of knowledge on the subject you already have, you will find this type of event of great benefit.
by Peter Rixson