Rector’s Thoughts on Lent 2012

From 6th to 8th February, the clergy of the United Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough were in conference in the historic city of Kilkenny.  As is usual custom we had a guest speaker for the event in the person of David Ford, an eminent academic and public theologian who was born in Dublin, educated in the High School and the University of Dublin (Trinity College).  He has been the Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge since 1991.  His research interests include political theology, ecumenical theology, Christian theologians and theologies, theology and poetry. the shaping of universities and of the field of theology and religious studies within universities, hermeneutics, and inter-faith theology and relations.  He is also the founding director of the Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme and a co-founder of the Society for Scriptural Reasoning.

David Ford recently published “The Future of Christian Theology” (Wiley-Blackwell 2011) and he made that book the basis of his presentations over the three days.  The kernel of his argument is that theology is very much an ongoing project as each generation must grapple with their concept of God and the meaning of Scripture in order to find their relevance and meaning in our twenty first century world.  In his closing session he suggested that as the writer of John’s Gospel reinterpreted the Old Testament in his prologue, he was not giving us a finished reinterpretation, but rather, a prototype of how reinterpretation should be done by each successive generation.  A very urgent and challenging concept indeed as we face controversial agendas in a rapidly changing society.

As this Newsletter appears, we will have embarked on the Church season of Lent.  It is the traditional season in which we try to prepare ourselves spiritually for the traumatic events of the first Holy Week and Easter.  It is no accident that in the Northern Hemisphere this season coincides with the climatic season of Spring.  Lent affords us the opportunity to re-evaluate ourselves and to make amends for things which need changing in our lives.  But all this is done in the positive light of promise – the promise of the risen Christ which we will be celebrating at Easter.  Meanwhile all around us, despite all the odds, nature is beginning to sprout forth once more with early flowers and shrub blossoms leading the way.  Perhaps we would do well to learn from nature’s book and move forward in faith even if things do not yet show any signs of promise!

To assist in our Lenten preparations, there will be a series of five Lenten talks held in the Knox Hall, Monkstown commencing on Tuesday 28th February at 8:00pm.  The subject of the series is Economic Justice and it promises to be a useful and pertinent discussion.  This series is an initiative of our local rural deanery and it is hoped that as many as possible from Tullow will represent our parish.

Finally, Sunday 4th March will be a very important date for five of our younger parishioners as they will be confirmed together with ten candidates from Kilternan parish in Kilternan on that date.  Please remember in your prayers Georgia Burns, Hannah Garvey, William Hayden, Heather Swanwick and Astrid Tidey as they make this step in faith.  May they be richly blessed on their spiritual journey, now and always.

With every blessing,

John

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