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Lenten Feasting

A million apologies, I have missed the boat on blogging about so many interesting things! Lent, Valentines Day, the Pope’s resignation… and I have been silent. I am comforted only by the knowledge that such important events have not gone unreported; every Christian blog on the whole internet has been blogging about them. Fortunately, it is not my responsibility to report or opine the minute they roll around because this is not that sort of blog.

In fact, my opinions about these recent events and special days are either irrelevant, boring or shallow, so I’ve decided I won’t elaborate here. Instead I will point you to the blog of the current President of the Uniting Church, Andrew Dutney, who recently posted about why fasting during Lent isn’t a typical part of our church tradition, in fact — quite the opposite.

“But that was only the beginning. Soon sausage eating broke out all over Zurich. Not only sausages, there was a rumour that some priests had enjoyed pork on Palm Sunday. It was all too much, and a judicial enquiry was initiated. Heads would roll over this.”

Ulrich Zwingli by Hans Asper 1531

Ulrich Zwingli

During my time working on Iona I have rubbed shoulders with Christians from many different traditions, but I am one of the few who does not give up eating desserts or meat during this period in the liturgical calendar. It’s also interesting to hear the comments (not necessarily unkind!) that suggest my religious background is essentially new, with no specific acknowledgement of any particular Christian tradition.

It was encouraging for me to read this post from Andrew and be reminded that this isn’t actually the case. It’s also a challenge for me: how much do I really know about the Swiss Reformation? Do I really understand why I don’t fast during Lent?

I see little value in a tradition that’s followed without understanding and reflection, so I’m going to look into this ‘Affair of the Sausages‘ and other parts of the traditions from which my church comes.

N.T. Wright on Reading the Bible

Reading the Huffington Post’s religion portal, I have just stumbled across this video by N.T. Wright about reading the Bible. I would recommend watching it in its entirety, but I was particularly fond of this section:

“When we read ten verses of John or Romans or Isaiah or whatever it is, the temptation is only to think of those ten verses, but actually we ought to see this as a little window through which we see the whole thing… what is basically going on in each service is we’re actually reading the whole Old Testament, but we’re just reading it through the lens of these fifteen–twenty verses, and we’re reading the whole New Testament — thinking the whole New Testament — but we’re just reading this particular bit because the service is an act of praise to God.”

Two thoughts:

  • Wow I didn’t realise N.T. Wright looked like that
  • I hope one day I can speak so eloquently off the top of my head

I recently answered a question on Tumblr from someone about how to begin to read the Bible. The cheeky part of me was tempted to say “OPEN IT AT RANDOM AND IT’S GOD TALKING TO YOU, LOL” (such a response wouldn’t be unusual on that platform!) but I decided to answer it seriously instead.

A high-def version of this video can be purchased for US$15 for use in churches etc.