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For the past 5 weeks, I had the opportunity to be part of the ‘Simply Christianity’ group at WoW (Women on Wednesday). This course provided us with the chance to study the Gospel of Luke and the core message of Christianity: that Jesus is God’s Christ, the ruler of the world, who came to rescue us through his death, so that all might be able to repent and find forgiveness in him.
During my time so far at WoW, I have felt encouraged, supported and inspired by the depth of understanding that St Michael’s women have of the Bible. Coming from a non-Christian upbringing, there are gaps in my understanding of the Old and New Testament that our studies have not yet explored (and frankly as a mother of 3, where my time limits have not allowed me to venture).
The appeal of the Simply Christianity was that it provided our group with a 5-week timeframe to read and discuss the themes that arise from each part of Luke’s Gospel. The course provided first hand historical documentation which confirmed the historical reliability of the Gospels, Old Testament predictions and the events of the resurrection itself. The pace and length of the course encouraged us to read the whole gospel of Luke within the course’s timeframe.
On face value, it may seem like a big task to ask a newcomer to read Luke’s Gospel in entirety. However, from my experience, it gave the chance to make an informed response to Luke’s Gospel. The nature of the group meant that guests could openly ask questions or seek clarification in a welcoming and non-confronting environment.
What I enjoyed most about this course was the sense of connectedness that I felt with the life, ministry and miracles of Jesus Christ. For me, the most compelling weeks were sessions 4 and 5 when we focused on Jesus’ execution, then his resurrection… By re-living Jesus’s conversation with the criminal whose belief confirmed that “today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43) despite his sin… By imagining first-hand the shocking discovery of Jesus’ corpse-less tomb or his reappearance, distribution of the bread and sudden disappearance from their sight.
This reaffirmed in my mind the role of Jesus the rescuer who sacrificed his life: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10) so that people who believe are now able to receive God’s forgiveness. What a wonderful message to share with newcomers interested in finding out more about the Christian faith!
This course has not only provided me with a greater understanding of the core message of Christianity but has also given me the confidence to read other sections of the Bible independently and in their entirety.
I would highly recommend this course to newcomers to St Michael’s or current parishioners who are looking to share their faith with family and friends.