One of the most interesting but yet possibly controversial facts about the New Testament texts is that the story or accounts of the life of Jesus are told in many different ways. The gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke all tell a similar story, but often place certain events and happenings in different places. They are known as the Synoptic Gospels. They each tell of the life of Jesus and what it means to be his follower in a different way. Each has its own slant or its own take on Jesus’ life and ministry and it is thought that they all took their material from a written or oral source which scholars have named ‘Q’. ‘Q’ itself has never been found and in some circles this idea can also be controversial too! John’s gospel stands alone as being quite different and is often thought of as being the most ‘spiritual’. There is much in John that does not appear in the Synoptic Gospels and vice versa. So we might think, well how can we know which is the true version of what really happened all those years ago? Does this difference mean that the life and story of Jesus is not true? Does this mean that Jesus did not ever exist and it’s all a load of rubbish? Well the answer to these questions is an emphatic no as you might expect a vicar to say – but for me it makes the events and stories of Jesus life, death and of course the most important point for Christianity – the resurrection, even more authentic and believable!
We cannot know for sure how the gospel writers came about their information but we have to remember that at that time, oral tradition was very strong, although they themselves used written scrolls which were the writings of what we call the Old Testament, the Hebrew Bible. The thing is we have four wonderful accounts of the life and ministry of Jesus and although written at different times and places they all agree on the most important things. That Jesus was God’s Son born to come and show us who God is. He came to fulfil the Law of Moses and to spread the knowledge and love of God not only to Israel but to all peoples and nations. He was put to death by those who thought he was a blasphemer and were frightened by who he said he was. He died on a cross on a Friday, outside the walls of Jerusalem, was buried in a tomb the same day with a very heavy stone sealing it, but by the Sunday morning the tomb was empty and the disciples were terrified, even when Jesus appeared to them later that day. Each one of them had to make up their own mind about who Jesus was and what was taking place. We too are invited to make up our minds about who Jesus was and what it meant and still means for our lives, our community, nationally and globally.
At the moment at church we have two study groups running, one in the afternoon at the vicarage and one in the evening meeting at different homes in the village. Currently we are studying John’s gospel and will continue to do so for some weeks yet! If you are interested in finding out more about the Christian faith, John’s gospel is a good place to begin. Do join us if you are interested!
At the end of a very busy week as I write this, I am aware that there are many people in our community, who live or work here, or both, who are concerned about some of our village institutions, namely the future of our school remaining on two bases, Capel and Ockley; and also our village pub. I would like to assure you as one of the governors of Scott Broadwood looking after both bases – we are one school; that Scott Broadwood is thriving academically and pastorally as a Church of England School. Yet we have to make sure our school is going to be financially viable for it to survive for generations to come. Likewise our village pub has at times had a bad press especially on social media. I would like to confirm that this week I had a very enjoyable lunch and met the new chef who is very committed to The Crown as are our Landlord and Lady. Running any business is tough these days and in village life rumours abound. I’m putting my head above the parapet to say ‘Come on everyone, let’s remember what really matters in life. Let’s remember that we all have our own ‘take’ on what we see and observe others doing around us. Let’s do what we can for two of the most important institutions in our community and I include our neighbouring village of Ockley here – the school and the pub! Then of course there’s the church….. oh well, we will talk about that next time! I feel a toast is in order…….
With my love and prayers as ever.