My husband, Tom, and I were in Philadelphia for a wedding not too long ago and I couldn’t wait to show him one of my favorite art museums — The Barnes Collection. (Yes, we saw a lot of American historical places, and yes, we ate Philly Cheesesteaks, and yes, we went to the Reading Railway Station market. But, I can’t resist an art museum. Go ahead, call me a nerd). The Barnes Collection houses hundreds of paintings by Renoir, Monet, Picasso, Pissarro — it’s almost overwhelming! We happened on to a small group enjoying a lecture on one of the less familiar Picasso’s. I confess, it didn’t do anything for me — one of his paintings from the “blue period” (in other words, it was blue — varying shades). The professor who was speaking began to point out subtle details I hadn’t noticed, compared and contrasted this painting with others by Picasso, elaborated on particular uses of light and shadow that were not based in reality and all of the sudden, I “got it!”
I’ve done this many times. (Eduard Munch’s “The Scream” and Picasso’s “Guernica” will never be the same since studying them it in a graduate Art Therapy course!) And every time I opened myself up to exploration, it seems I had the same response: “Wow. I didn’t know that. That changes everything.”
That’s what I most love about biblical studies. That “Wow!” moment when some piece of information or a new perspective or an unusual insight “changed everything.” Now, understand that Bible study is not new to me. I studied the Bible in college (yes, The University of Texas had a Biblical Studies course — and yes, it changed my life), in seminary, and for over 30 years leading studies in the local church. AND I’M STILL SURPRISED! There seems to be no end to the insights and inspirations in this wonderful book.
And with every new perspective, new piece of information, unusual insight — I am compelled to wrestle with what I thought I knew and consider what might be. And this is the most profound way I have come to understand my faith, my calling, my journey.
So, I would like to invite you to a short-term study either on Sunday mornings (9:15 – 10:40 am) or Thursday mornings (9:15 – 11:00 am). This study will be on the New Testament writer, Paul. Paul, the apostle, who is so often misunderstood, misinterpreted, and miscast. This study will almost certainly evoke an “I didn’t know that!” response.
If you are looking for a quick Bible study to deepen your understanding of Paul and enrich your faith, please consider spending the next four weeks in this particular study. Here’s the schedule:
Sundays, September 23, 30, October 7, and 14 (9:15 – 10:40) Room 320
Thursdays, September 13, 20, 27, and October 4 (9:15 – 11:00) Room 350
If you do want to participate, would you please help us by registering with Gayle Ammerman (Gammerman@myfumc.org). And if you want to know what to bring, here’s the list: an open mind, curiosity, a willingness to hear something new, an ability to say “Wow!” Hope to see you!
Associate Pastor of Worship